Aggregate Demand and Austerity

Both modeling and the historical record indicate that austerity in the midst of a balance sheet recession leads to increased deficits. The historical analogy frequently raised by Richard Koo, who argues that the attempt by the Japanese government in 1997 to reduce budget deficits in the midst of a balance-sheet recession resulted in larger deficits, not smaller ones. We may be already seeing the same thing in the UK, as deficits there are now growing in the aftermath of austerity measures undertaken late last year.