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Identifying Global and National Output and Fiscal Policy Shocks Using a GVAR

The paper contributes to the growing Global VAR (GVAR) literature by showing how global and national shocks can be identified within a GVAR framework. The usefulness of the proposed approach is illustrated in an application to the analysis of the interactions between public debt and real output growth in a multi-country setting, and the results are compared to those obtained from standard single-country VAR analysis. We find that on average (across countries) global shocks explain about one-third of the long-horizon forecast error variance of output growth, and about one fifth of the long-run variance of the rate of change of debt-to-GDP. Evidence on the degree of cross-sectional dependence in these variables and their innovations is exploited to identify the global shocks, and priors are used to identify the national shocks within a Bayesian framework. It is found that posterior median debt elasticity with respect to output is much larger when the rise in output is due to a fiscal policy shock, as compared to when the rise in output is due to a positive technology shock. The cross-country average of the median debt elasticity is 1.58 when the rise in output is due to a fiscal expansion as compared to 0.75 when the rise in output follows from a favorable output shock.