The paper uses a two-sector DSGE model with nominal and real rigidities to analyse the stabilising properties of fiscal policy rules in a small open economy in monetary union. The focus is on the potential of budgetary-neutral rules that adjust the composition of government purchases between tradable and non-tradable goods in response to business cycle indicators as a stabilisation tool when fiscal limits are tight. The paper finds that the state-dependent reallocation of government purchases between tradable and non-tradable goods stabilises domestic activity and reduces the welfare costs of economy-wide and sector-specific shocks. Potential welfare gains from such policy rules are higher than welfare gains from standard counter-cyclical fiscal policy rules that adjust the overall level of government purchases. Contrary to standard deficit spending policies, the state-dependent expenditure composition rules avoid the trade-off between, first, counter-cyclical spending and, second, consolidation needs in economic downturns in the presence of explicit or implicit deficit and debt limits.
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