1. What is a multiplier? It is a way of seeing how sensitive the economy is to an expenditure injection/leakage. That is, it tells us the effect of a change in expenditures. Multipliers also reveal two basic ideas related to changes in expenditure:
a. the necessary DG, DI, DT
is always going to be less than the DY
(i.e. you don't have to change expenditure by as much as the gap you're trying to close)
b. both DG and DI
are positively related to DY,
while DT is negatively related to DY
(i.e. if G or I increase, Y increases; and if T increases, Y decreases)
[Note: Y = real GDP, I = Investment, G = Government spending, T = Taxes, m = MPC]
2. Why do we need a multiplier?
A multiplier tells us how much expenditure needs to change in order to close a GDP gap.
For example, if equilibrium GDP is $2 trillion and Potential GDP is $3 trillion, there is a
recessionary gap of $1 trillion. The multiplier can tell us exactly how much we need to increase
expenditure, in order to close the gap. Therefore, the multiplier is just a tool which allows us
to properly employ fiscal policy.
3. How do I use a multiplier?
There are two basic types of multipliers: the expenditure multipliers and the tax multiplier.
Before moving on, let's think about what the equations for these two multipliers are saying:
4. Can you give me a simple example of how a multiplier might be used?
Here are two different, but related examples of how multipliers could be used.
Example 1: The MPC is 0.8 and the government wants to know how much GDP is affected after increasing government spending by $20 million versus a decrease in taxes of $20 million.
Plug this information into equations (i) and (ii):
c. If DG = 20, what is the DY?
d. If DT = -20, what is the DY?
Example 2:
The MPC is 0.8 and there is a recessionary gap of $20 billion.
How much should the government either increase spending or decrease taxes to close this gap?
e. What DG makes DY = 20:
f. What DT makes DY = 20:
[Note: DG, DI, DT and DY
represent changes in the variables G, I, T and Y respectively]