Household Response to the 2008 Tax Rebate: Survey Evidence and Aggregate Implications
AbstractOnly about one-fifth of respondents in the Reuters/University of Michigan survey report that the 2008 tax rebates led them to mostly increase spending, while over half said it would lead them to mostly pay off debt. Of those in the mostly-spend category, the response was swift, with over 80 percent reporting increasing their spending within three months of receiving their rebate. Older households, households with higher wealth and higher income, and those expecting future income growth were generally more likely to spend the rebates. A review of other surveys confirms the general pattern of results and suggests that small changes in survey design do not have a major effect on the distribution of responses. The distribution of survey answers corresponds to an aggregate MPC after one year of about one-third. The paper combines this survey-based estimate of the MPC and the survey-based estimate of the timing of spending to show that the rebates help explain the aggregate movements in saving, spending, and debt in 2008. Because the rebate was large and distributed over a short period, it had a non-trivial effect on total spending in the second and third quarters of 2008. Nonetheless, the results imply that the rebates provided only a modest stimulus to spending per dollar of rebate.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15421.
Date of creation: Oct 2009
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Publication status: published as Claudia R. Sahm, Matthew D. Shapiro, Joel Slemrod. "Household Response to the 2008 Tax Rebate: Survey Evidence and Aggregate Implications," in Jeffrey R. Brown, editor, "Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 24" The University of Chicago Press (2010)
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- Claudia R. Sahm & Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2010. "Household Response to the 2008 Tax Rebate: Survey Evidence and Aggregate Implications," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 24, pages 69-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Claudia R. Sahm & Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2009. "Household response to the 2008 tax rebates: survey evidence and aggregate implications," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-45, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
- E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomics: Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
- E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
- E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes
- H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
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