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Did the 2008 Tax Rebates Stimulate Spending?

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  • Matthew D. Shapiro
  • Joel Slemrod

Abstract

Only one-fifth of respondents to a rider on the University of Michigan Survey Research Center's Monthly Survey said that the 2008 tax rebates would lead them to mostly increase spending. Almost half said the rebate would mostly lead them to pay off debt, while about a third saying it would lead them mostly to save more. The survey responses imply that the aggregate propensity to spend from the rebate was about one-third, and that there would not be substantially more spending as a lagged effect of the rebates. Because of the low spending propensity, the rebates in 2008 provided low "bang for the buck" as economic stimulus. Putting cash into the hands of the consumers who use it to save or pay off debt boosts their well-being, but it does not necessarily make them spend. Low-income individuals were particularly likely to use the rebate to pay off debt.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.99.2.374
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 99 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 374-79

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:2:p:374-79

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.2.374
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References

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  1. Sumit Agarwal & Chunlin Liu & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2007. "The reaction of consumer spending and debt to tax rebates – evidence from consumer credit data," Working Paper Series WP-07-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  2. Shapiro, Matthew D & Slemrod, Joel, 1995. "Consumer Response to the Timing of Income: Evidence from a Change in Tax Withholding," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 274-83, March.
  3. David S. Johnson & Jonathan A. Parker & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2004. "Household Expenditure and the Income Tax Rebates of 2001," Working Papers 136, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics..
  4. Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2003. "Consumer Response to Tax Rebates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 381-396, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Alan J. Auerbach & William G. Gale, 2009. "Activist fiscal policy to stabilize economic activity," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 327-374.
  2. Diego E. Vacaflores, 2013. "Monetary Transfers in the U.S.: How Efficient Are Tax Rebates?," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 1(3), pages 26-48, November.
  3. Mathias Dolls & Clemens Fuest & Andreas Peichl, 2009. "Automatic Stabilizers and Economic Crisis: US vs. Europe," CESifo Working Paper Series 2878, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Ahrens, Steffen, 2009. "Fiscal responses to the financial crisis," Kiel Policy Brief 11, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  5. John B. Taylor, 2011. "An Empirical Analysis of the Revival of Fiscal Activism in the 2000s," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(3), pages 686-702, September.
  6. Ryu-ichiro Murota & Yoshiyasu Ono, 2010. "A Reinterpretation of the Keynesian Consumption Function and Multiplier Effect," ISER Discussion Paper 0779, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  7. Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2009. "Commentary: activist fiscal policy to stabilize economic activity," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 387-397.
  8. Henning Bohn, 2010. "The Economic Consequences of Rising U.S. Government Debt: Privileges at Risk," CESifo Working Paper Series 3079, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Gathergood, John, 2012. "How do consumers respond to house price declines?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 279-281.
  10. Conley, Timothy G. & Dupor, Bill, 2013. "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Solely a government jobs program?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(5), pages 535-549.
  11. Sagiri Kitao, 2010. "Short-run fiscal policy: welfare, redistribution, and aggregate effects in the short and long run," Staff Reports 442, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  12. Susan Randolph & Patrick Guyer, 2011. "Tracking the Historical Evolution of States' Compliance with their Economics and Social Rights Obligations of Result: Insights from the Historical SERF Index," Economic Rights Working Papers 18, University of Connecticut, Human Rights Institute.

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