DP11811 The Economic Effects of Public Financing: Evidence from Municipal Bond Ratings Recalibration

Author(s): Manuel Adelino, Igor Cunha, Miguel Ferreira
Publication Date: January 2017
Keyword(s): Credit ratings, Government Employment, Income, Local Economy, Municipal Bonds, Private Employment, Public Finance
JEL(s): E24, G24, G28, H74
Programme Areas: Financial Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=11811

We show that municipalities' financial constraints can have a significant impact on local employment and growth. We identify these effects by exploiting exogenous upgrades in U.S. municipal bond ratings caused by Moody's recalibration of its ratings scale in 2010. We find that local governments increase expenditures because their debt capacity expands following a rating upgrade. These expenditures have an estimated local income multiplier of 1.9 and a cost per job of $20,000 per year. Our findings suggest that debt-financed increases in government spending can improve economic conditions during recessions.