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Transfer Payments and the Macroeconomy: The Effects of Social Security Benefit Increases, 1952-1991

Author

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  • Christina D. Romer
  • David H. Romer

Abstract

This paper uses Social Security benefit increases from 1952 to 1991 to investigate the macroeconomic effects of changes in transfers. It finds a large, immediate, and significant positive response of consumption to permanent benefit increases. The response declines after about five months, and does not appear to spread to industrial production or employment. The effects of transfers are faster, but much less persistent and much smaller overall, than those of tax changes. Finally, monetary policy responds strongly to benefit increases but not to tax changes. This may account for the failure of the effects of transfers to persist or spread.

Suggested Citation

  • Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2016. "Transfer Payments and the Macroeconomy: The Effects of Social Security Benefit Increases, 1952-1991," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 1-42, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:8:y:2016:i:4:p:1-42
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.20140348
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:macchp:v2-71 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ernest Dautovic & Harald Hau & Yi Huang, 2017. "The Consumption Response to Minimum Wages: Evidence from Chinese Households," IHEID Working Papers 01-2017, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
    3. Alberto Alesina & Omar Barbiero & Carlo Favero & Francesco Giavazzi & Matteo Paradisi, 2017. "The Effects of Fiscal Consolidations: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 23385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Ramey, V.A., 2016. "Macroeconomic Shocks and Their Propagation," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - 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
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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