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The Production Impact Of “Cash-For-Clunkers”: Implications For Stabilization Policy

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  • ADAM COPELAND
  • JAMES KAHN

Abstract

Stabilization policies frequently aim to boost spending as a means to increase GDP. Spending does not necessarily translate into production, however, especially when inventories are involved. We look at the “cash-for-clunkers” program that helped finance the purchase of nearly 700,000 vehicles in 2009. An analysis of auto sales and production movements reveals that the program did prompt a large spike in sales. But the program had only a modest and fleeting impact on production, as inventories buffered the movements in sales. These findings suggest caution in judging the efficacy of such policies by their impact on spending alone.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

Volume (Year): 51 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (01)
Pages: 288-303

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ecinqu:v:51:y:2013:i:1:p:288-303

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References

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  1. Igal Hendel & Aviv Nevo, 2006. "Measuring the Implications of Sales and Consumer Inventory Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1637-1673, November.
  2. Erdem, Tulin & Imai, Susumu & Keane, Michael, 2003. "Brand and Quantity Choice Dynamics Under Price Uncertainty," MPRA Paper 52516, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Kahn, James A, 1987. "Inventories and the Volatility of Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 667-79, September.
  4. Pasquale Schiraldi, 2008. "Automobile replacement: a dynamic structural approach," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 21780, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Abrams Burton A & Parsons George R, 2009. "Is CARS a Clunker?," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 6(8), pages 1-4, August.
  6. Martin Feldstein & Alan Auerbach, 1976. "Inventory Behavior in Durable-Goods Manufacturing: The Target-Adjustment Model," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 7(2), pages 351-408.
  7. Adam Copeland & George Hall, 2011. "The response of prices, sales, and output to temporary changes in demand," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(2), pages 232-269, March.
  8. Bils, M. & Kahn, J.A., 1996. "What Inventory Behavior Tells Us About Business Cycles," RCER Working Papers 428, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  9. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Valerie A. Ramey, 1992. "Output Fluctuations at the Plant Level," NBER Working Papers 4105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2010. "The Effects of Fiscal Stimulus: Evidence from the 2009 ‘Cash for Clunkers’ Program," NBER Working Papers 16351, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Li, Shanjun & Linn, Joshua & Spiller, Elisheba, 2010. "Evaluating “Cash-for-Clunkers”: Program Effect on Auto Sales, Jobs, and the Environment," Discussion Papers dp-10-39, Resources For the Future.
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Cited by:
  1. Gavazza, Alessandro & Lizzeri, Alessandro & Rokestkiy, Nikita, 2012. "A quantitative analysis of the used-car market," MPRA Paper 38414, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. James Kahn & Adam Copeland, 2012. "Durable Goods Production and Inventory Dynamics: An Application to the Automobile Industry," 2012 Meeting Papers 270, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Adam Copeland & James A. Kahn, 2012. "Exchange rate pass-through, markups, and inventories," Staff Reports 584, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  4. Leheyda, Nina & Verboven, Frank, 2013. "Scrapping subsidies during the financial crisis: Evidence from Europe," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-079, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

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