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Tax Policy and Consumer Spending: Evidence from Japanese Fiscal Experiments

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  • Katsunori Watanabe
  • Takayuki Watanabe
  • Tsutomu Watanabe
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    Abstract

    This paper studies the extent to which the impact of tax policy on consumer spending differs between temporary and permanent, as well as anticipated and unanticipated tax changes. To discriminate between them, we use institutional information such as legal distinction between temporary and permanent tax changes, as well as timing of policy announcement and implementation. We find that the impact of temporary changes is significantly smaller than the impact of permanent changes. We also find that more than 80 per cent of Japanese consumers, including those who distinguish between temporary and permanent tax changes, respond to tax changes at the time of their implementation and not at the time of a policy announcement. We suggest an interpretation that these consumers follow a near-rational decision rule.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7252.

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    Date of creation: Jul 1999
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    Publication status: published as Watanabe, Katsunori, Takayuki Watanabe and Tsutomu Watanabe. "Tax Policy And Consumer Spending: Evidence From Japanese Fiscal Experiments," Journal of International Economics, 2001, v53(2,Apr), 261-281.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7252

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    1. Blinder, Alan S, 1981. "Temporary Income Taxes and Consumer Spending," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(1), pages 26-53, February.
    2. Ricardo J. Caballero, 1992. "Near-Rationality, Heterogeneity and Aggregate Consumption," NBER Working Papers 4035, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Francesco Giavazzi & Marco Pagano, 1990. "Can Severe Fiscal Contractions Be Expansionary? Tales of Two Small European Countries," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1990, Volume 5, pages 75-122 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 1985. "Estimation and Inference in Two-Step Econometric Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(4), pages 370-79, October.
    5. Poterba, James M, 1988. "Are Consumers Forward Looking? Evidence from Fiscal Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 413-18, May.
    6. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244, Octomber.
    7. Campbell, John Y & Deaton, Angus, 1989. "Why Is Consumption So Smooth?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 357-73, July.
    8. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1985. "A Near-rational Model of the Business Cycle, with Wage and Price Intertia," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(5), pages 823-38, Supp..
    9. Quah, Danny, 1990. "Permanent and Transitory Movements in Labor Income: An Explanation for "Excess Smoothness" in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 449-75, June.
    10. Shea, John, 1995. "Union Contracts and the Life-Cycle/Permanent-Income Hypothesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 186-200, March.
    11. Campbell, John Y. & Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1990. "Permanent Income, Current Income, and Consumption," Scholarly Articles 3353762, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    12. Francesco Giavazzi & Marco Pagano, 1995. "Non-Keynesian Effects of Fiscal Policy Changes: International Evidence and the Swedish Experience," NBER Working Papers 5332, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Flavin, Marjorie A, 1981. "The Adjustment of Consumption to Changing Expectations about Future Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 974-1009, October.
    14. Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1982. "Hall's consumption hypothesis and durable goods," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 417-425.
    15. John H. Cochrane, 1988. "The Sensitivity of Tests of the Intertemporal Allocation of Consumption to Near-Rational Alternatives," NBER Working Papers 2730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Hayashi, Fumio, 1985. "The Permanent Income Hypothesis and Consumption Durability: Analysis Based on Japanese Panel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1083-1113, November.
    17. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1985. "Can Small Deviations from Rationality Make Significant Differences to Economic Equilibria?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 708-20, September.
    18. Campbell, John Y. & Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1991. "The response of consumption to income : A cross-country investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 723-756, May.
    19. Wilcox, David W, 1989. "Social Security Benefits, Consumption Expenditure, and the Life Cycle Hypothesis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 288-304, April.
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    Cited by:
    1. Watanabe, Katsunori & Watanabe, Takayuki & Watanabe, Tsutomu, 2001. "Tax policy and consumer spending: evidence from Japanese fiscal experiments," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 261-281, April.

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