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

  • Atif Mian
  • Amir Sufi

We evaluate 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 summer 2008. We find that the program induced the purchase of an additional 370,000 cars in July and August 2009. However, we find strong evidence of reversal; high clunker counties bought fewer autos in the 10 months after the program expired, which offset most of the initial purchases. We find no evidence of an effect on employment, house prices, or household default rates in cities with higher exposure to the program. JEL Codes: H20, E62. Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 127 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 1107-1142

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Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:127:y:2012:i:3:p:1107-1142
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  1. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2011. "From Financial Crash to Debt Crisis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1676-1706, August.
  2. Reinhart, Carmen & Ogaki, Masao, 1998. "Intertemporal substitution and durable goods: long-run data," MPRA Paper 13683, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Sumit Agarwal & Chunlin Liu & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2007. "The reaction of consumer spending and debt to tax rebates – evidence from consumer credit data," Working Paper Series WP-07-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. 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.
  5. Lawrence Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Sergio Rebelo, 2009. "When is the government spending multiplier large?," NBER Working Papers 15394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. David S. Johnson & Jonathan A. Parker & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2004. "Household Expenditure and the Income Tax Rebates of 2001," NBER Working Papers 10784, 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. Michael Woodford, 2010. "Simple Analytics of the Government Expenditure Multiplier," NBER Working Papers 15714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. repec:oup:qjecon:v:124:y:2009:i:4:p:1449-1496 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. 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.
  11. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2010. "Measuring the Output Responses to Fiscal Policy," NBER Working Papers 16311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
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