Difference between Austerity and Stimulus

It may be necessary for the government to take monetary policies for the economy to fulfill its macroeconomic objectives. Analysts, financial professionals, economists, and investors contribute to the deliberation process by submitting studies on monetary policy options for a country to consider. The necessity to regulate consumption, inflation, liquidity, and expansion to support long−term, sustainable economic growth often necessitates this.

The government may pursue a monetary policy by, for example, altering the necessary reserve ratio of banks, buying or selling government bonds, controlling the cost of foreign exchange, or adjusting interest rates. The government has several tools at its disposal, including austerity and stimulation, to help the economy achieve its macroeconomic goals.

What is Austerity?

Austerity is economic actions taken by a government to limit the growth of the national debt. It is used to gauge how countries with massive amounts of public debt would behave. Austerity measures can only be implemented if the budget deficit is reduced.

Some examples of austerity measures are as follows −

  • Moderation adds a focal point on monetary progress. While this helps justify more government spending, the ultimate goal is to spur expansion and collect revenue in the process.

  • The Angela Merkel strategy prioritizes raising taxes and decreasing spending on various government programs and services deemed unnecessary.

  • Reducing government spending and increasing tax rates are examples of the "austerity measures" being put into effect.

When it comes to reducing the deficit, most economists believe that spending cuts are the most successful strategy. Subsidies, grants, entitlement programs, government employee bonuses, national defense spending, and foreign aid are all examples of common government spending.

A program of austerity may include the following measures −

  • Temporary or permanent reductions in the scope of governmental assistance

  • Reforms to the retirement system

  • There must be an immediate halt to government layoffs and hiring freezes.

  • Curbing people's mobility

Despite being the declared goal, it is unclear how effective austerity will be in reducing the national debt. This is because if deficits continue to grow, they might suffocate the economy.

What is Stimulus?

The government engages in this action to stimulate economic activity by using fiscal policy and other expansionary monetary measures. The term "boosting the economy" describes what has just happened. It is used to encourage the private economic sector to respond positively when times are rough, such as during a recession.

Examples of policy actions that are used to boost the economy include raising the government's spending and decreasing interest rates.

The model assumes that economic activity will follow suit when private spending rises. However, there are risks associated with taking this course of action. Hyperinflation may result, for instance, if nations defaulted on their debt.

The government employs a wide range of tools to stimulate the economy and promote growth. The government may also decide to engage in fiscal stimulus, which is the procedure through which it may decide to increase government spending, decrease regulations, or reduce tax rates. By purchasing securities or lowering interest rates, monetary stimulation might also make borrowing and investing easier.

Differences: Austerity and Stimulus

Both of these are examples of initiatives that governments have done to encourage economic expansion. The following table highlights the major differences between Austerity and Stimulus −

Characteristics Austerity Stimulus
Definition The term "austerity" describes the economic policies put in place by a government to reduce the size of the public debt. A "stimulus" is an action taken by the government to stimulate the economy. This can be done through fiscal policy or by specific expansionary monetary measures. We call this kind of intervention "stimulus."
Aim By imposing policies like tax increases and budget cuts, the policy of austerity aims to reduce the size of the government's budget to the absolute minimum possible. Stimulus is commonly used to describe a package of fiscal and monetary policies enacted to stimulate economic expansion.


Austerity is a fiscal strategy that prioritizes reducing the size of government through increasing taxes and decreasing spending. The stimulus, on the other hand, is an effort to stimulate growth in the economy via the use of various fiscal and monetary measures. Austerity measures should be used only when absolutely necessary because of the potential hardships they might cause to people's daily life.

Updated on: 30-Nov-2022


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started