The aim of this paper is twofold. First, for West Germany, France, Italy and US, we econometrically select within a SVAR model some fiscal policy regimes, i.e. a u0094set of rulesu0094 for the implementation of fiscal policies. Second, we identify the fiscal policy shocks related to different categories of expenditure and taxation, and simulate their ex0Bects on economic activity. Empirical evidence shows that in the selected European countries fiscal decisions mainly target government expenditure while a clear-cut distinction between spending and taxation regimes is not found in the US. Both shocks on government spending and taxation generate keynesian responses of output, although fiscal multipliers are quite low (output reacts by 0.1 percent quarterly on average at most to a 1 percentage change in the expenditure or revenue ratio). In Italy, the US and France, the strongest ex0Bect on output is produced by shocks on government expenditure on wages and transfers.