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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

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

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References

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  1. Francesco Giavazzi & Michael F. McMahon, 2008. "Policy Uncertainty and Precautionary Savings," CEP Discussion Papers dp0863, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. 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.).
  3. 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.
  4. Richard Blundell & Luigi Pistaferri & Ian Preston, 2008. "Consumption Inequality and Partial Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1887-1921, December.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Atkeson, A. & Ogaki, M., 1991. "Wealth-Varying Intertemporal Elasticities of Substitution Evidence from Panel and Aggregate Data," RCER Working Papers 303, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  8. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2012. "Fiscal Multipliers in Recession and Expansion," NBER Chapters, in: Fiscal Policy after the Financial Crisis, pages 63-98 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Valerio Ercolani, 2010. "The Precautionary Effect of Government Expenditures on Private Consumption," 2010 Meeting Papers 826, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Marco Del Negro, 2000. "Asymmetric shocks among U.S. states," Working Paper 2000-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  11. 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.
  12. Emi Nakamura & J?n Steinsson, 2014. "Fiscal Stimulus in a Monetary Union: Evidence from US Regions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 753-92, March.
  13. Lilia Maliar & Serguei Maliar, 2002. "The Representative Consumer In The Neoclassical Growth Model With Idiosyncratic Shocks," Working Papers. Serie AD 2002-20, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  14. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Alberto Alesina & Carlo Favero & Francesco Giavazzi, 2012. "The Output Effect of Fiscal Consolidations," NBER Working Papers 18336, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Sylvain Leduc & Daniel Wilson, 2012. "Roads to prosperity or bridges to nowhere? theory and evidence on the impact of public infrastructure investment," Working Paper Series 2012-04, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  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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