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The Effects of Fiscal Stimulus: Evidence from the 2009 ‘Cash for Clunkers’ Program

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  • Atif Mian
  • Amir Sufi

Abstract

A key rationale for fiscal stimulus is to boost consumption when aggregate demand is perceived to be inefficiently low. We examine the ability of the government to increase consumption by evaluating the impact of the 2009 “Cash for Clunkers” program on short and medium run auto purchases. Our empirical strategy exploits variation across U.S. cities in ex-ante exposure to the program as measured by the number of “clunkers” in the city as of the summer of 2008. We find that the program induced the purchase of an additional 360,000 cars in July and August of 2009. However, almost all of the additional purchases under the program were pulled forward from the very near future; the effect of the program on auto purchases is almost completely reversed by as early as March 2010 – only seven months after the program ended. The effect of the program on auto purchases was significantly more short-lived than previously suggested. We also find no evidence of an effect on employment, house prices, or household default rates in cities with higher exposure to the program.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16351.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Publication status: published as Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2012. "The Effects of Fiscal Stimulus: Evidence from the 2009 Cash for Clunkers Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1107-1142.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16351

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  1. Janice C. Eberly, . "Adjustment of Consumers' Durables Stocks: Evidence from Automobile Purchases," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 22-91, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  2. Ogaki, Masao & Reinhart, Carmen M., 1998. "Intertemporal substitution and durable goods: long-run data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 85-90, October.
  3. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2010. "When is the government spending multiplier large?," CQER Working Paper 2010-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  4. Sumit Agarwal & Chunlin Liu & Nicholas Souleles, 2007. "The reaction of consumer spending and debt to tax rebates; evidence from consumer credit data," Working Papers 07-34, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  5. Jonathan A. Parker, 2011. "Consumer Spending and the Economic Stimulus Payments of 2008," 2011 Meeting Papers 254, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Nicholas S. Souleles & Jonathan A. Parker & David S. Johnson, 2006. "Household Expenditure and the Income Tax Rebates of 2001," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1589-1610, December.
  7. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2010. "From Financial Crash to Debt Crisis," NBER Working Papers 15795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2010. "Measuring the Output Responses to Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 16311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Woodford, Michael, 2010. "Simple Analytics of the Government Expenditure Multiplier," CEPR Discussion Papers 7704, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Daniel J. Wilson, 2010. "Fiscal spending multipliers: evidence from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," Working Paper Series 2010-17, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  11. Atif R. Mian & Amir Sufi, 2010. "Household Leverage and the Recession of 2007 to 2009," NBER Working Papers 15896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2009. "The Consequences of Mortgage Credit Expansion: Evidence from the U.S. Mortgage Default Crisis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1449-1496, November.
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  1. Why Rick Perry Should Like Alan Krueger, Obama’s New Economic Chief
    by Mark Bergen in Mark Bergen (Econometro) on 2011-08-31 20:08:02
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Cited by:
  1. Robert E. Hall, 2011. "The Long Slump," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(2), pages 431-69, April.
  2. Agarwal, Sumit & Amromin, Gene & Ben-David, Itzhak & Chomsisengphet, Souphala & Piskorski, Tomasz & Seru, Amit, 2012. "Policy Intervention in Debt Renegotiation: Evidence from the Home Affordable Modification Program," Working Paper Series 2012-20, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
  3. Cwik, Tobias J. & Wieland, Volker, 2009. "Keynesian government spending multipliers and spillovers in the Euro area," CFS Working Paper Series 2009/25, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  4. Boomhower, Judson & Davis, Lucas W., 2014. "A credible approach for measuring inframarginal participation in energy efficiency programs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 67-79.
  5. 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.
  6. Jonathan A. Parker, 2011. "On Measuring the Effects of Fiscal Policy in Recessions," NBER Working Papers 17240, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jonathan A. Parker, 2011. "Consumer Spending and the Economic Stimulus Payments of 2008," 2011 Meeting Papers 254, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. John B. Taylor, 2014. "The Role of Policy in the Great Recession and the Weak Recovery," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(5), pages 61-66, May.
  9. Casaburi, Lorenzo & Troiano, Ugo, 2013. "Ghost-House Busters: The Electoral Response to a Large Anti Tax Evasion Program," MPRA Paper 52242, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Mark R. Jacobsen & Arthur A. van Benthem, 2013. "Vehicle Scrappage and Gasoline Policy," NBER Working Papers 19055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Lenski, Shoshannah M. & Keoleian, Gregory A. & Moore, Michael R., 2013. "An assessment of two environmental and economic benefits of ‘Cash for Clunkers’," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 173-180.
  12. Adam Copeland & James Kahn, 2013. "The Production Impact Of “Cash-For-Clunkers”: Implications For Stabilization Policy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 288-303, 01.
  13. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi & Francesco Trebbi, 2011. "Foreclosures, House Prices, and the Real Economy," NBER Working Papers 16685, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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