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The Household Effects of Government Spending

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  • Francesco Giavazzi
  • Michael McMahon

Abstract

This paper provides new evidence on the effects of fiscal policy by studying, using household-level data, how households respond to shifts in government spending. Our identification strategy allows us to control for time-specific aggregate effects, such as the stance of monetary policy or the U.S.-wide business cycle. However, it potentially prevents us from estimating the wealth effects associated with a shift in spending. We find significant heterogeneity in households' response to a spending shock; the effects appear vary over time depending, among other factors, on the state of business cycle and, at a lower frequency, on the composition of employment (such as the share of workers in part-time jobs). Shifts in spending could also have important distributional effects that are lost when estimating an aggregate multiplier. Heads of households working relatively few (weekly) hours, for instance, suffer from a spending shock of the type we analyzed: their consumption falls, their hours increase and their real wages fall.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1120.

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Date of creation: Feb 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1120

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

Related research

Keywords: Fiscal policy; PSID; household consumption; labor supply;

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References

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  1. Atkeson, Andrew & Ogaki, Masao, 1996. "Wealth-varying intertemporal elasticities of substitution: Evidence from panel and aggregate data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 507-534, December.
  2. Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Identifying Government Spending Shocks: It's all in the Timing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 1-50.
  3. Eric M. Leeper & Nora Traum & Todd B. Walker, 2011. "Clearing Up the Fiscal Multiplier Morass," NBER Working Papers 17444, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Francesco Giavazzi & Michael McMahon, 2008. "Policy Uncertainty and Precautionary Savings," NBER Working Papers 13911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Lilia Maliar & Serguei Maliar, 2003. "The Representative Consumer in the Neoclassical Growth Model with Idiosyncratic Shocks," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(2), pages 368-380, April.
  6. Joseph Cullen & Price V. Fishback, 2006. "Did Big Government's Largesse Help the Locals? The Implications of WWII Spending for Local Economic Activity, 1939-1958," NBER Working Papers 12801, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Del Negro, Marco, 2002. "Asymmetric shocks among U.S. states," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 273-297, March.
  8. Christopher J. Nekarda & Valerie A. Ramey, 2010. "Industry evidence on the effects of government spending," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-28, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  9. Constantinides, George M, 1982. "Intertemporal Asset Pricing with Heterogeneous Consumers and without Demand Aggregation," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(2), pages 253-67, April.
  10. Emi Nakamura & Jón Steinsson, 2011. "Fiscal Stimulus in a Monetary Union: Evidence from U.S. Regions," NBER Working Papers 17391, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2011. "Fiscal Multipliers in Recession and Expansion," NBER Working Papers 17447, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Valerio Ercolani, 2010. "The Precautionary Effect of Government Expenditures on Private Consumption," 2010 Meeting Papers 826, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Burnside, Craig & Eichenbaum, Martin & Fisher, Jonas D. M., 2004. "Fiscal shocks and their consequences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 89-117, March.
  14. Richard Blundell & Luigi Pistaferri & Ian Preston, 2004. "Consumption inequality and partial insurance," IFS Working Papers W04/28, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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Cited by:
  1. Alberto Alesina & Carlo Ambrogio Favero & Francesco Giavazzi, 2012. "The output effect of fiscal consolidations," Working Papers 450, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  2. Sylvain Leduc & Daniel Wilson, 2012. "Roads to Prosperity or Bridges to Nowhere? Theory and Evidence on the Impact of Public Infrastructure Investment," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2012, Volume 27, pages 89-142 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Luiz de Mello, 2013. "What Can Fiscal Policy Do in the Current Recession? A Review of Recent Literature and Policy Options," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 204(1), pages 113-139, March.
  4. Pieroni, Luca & Lorusso, Marco, 2013. "The Role of Fiscal Policy Components in Private Consumption: a Re-examination of the Effects of Military and Civilian Spending," MPRA Paper 47878, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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