Systems that involuntarily shore up GDP without any action by a government. For example, when a recession occurs, taxes usually decrease because persons and corporations make less. This gives them extra money to spend or invest, which helps GDP remain higher than it would otherwise. Most economists agree that automatic stabilizers work in the short term. They are also called automatic fiscal stabilizers and built-in stabilizers.
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automatic (built-in) stabilizerselements in FISCAL POLICY that serve to automatically reduce the impact of fluctuations in economic activity. A fall in NATIONAL INCOME and output reduces government TAXATION receipts and increases its unemployment and social security payments. Lower taxation receipts and higher payments increase the government's BUDGET DEFICIT and restore some of the lost income (see CIRCULAR FLOW OF NATIONAL INCOME MODEL). See FISCAL DRAG.
Collins Dictionary of Economics, 4th ed. © C. Pass, B. Lowes, L. Davies 2005