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Did the 2001 Tax Rebate Stimulate Spending? Evidence from Taxpayer Surveys

In: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 17

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  • Matthew D. Shapiro
  • Joel Slemrod

Abstract

In 2001, many households received rebate checks as advanced payments of the benefit of the new, 10 percent federal income tax bracket. A survey conducted at the time the rebates were mailed finds that few households said that the rebate led them mostly to increase spending. A follow-up survey in 2002, as well as a similar survey conducted after the attacks of 9/11, also indicates low spending rates. This paper investigates the robustness of these survey responses and assesses whether such surveys are useful for policy evaluation. It also draws lessons from the surveys for macroeconomic analysis of the tax rebate.
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Suggested Citation

  • Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2003. "Did the 2001 Tax Rebate Stimulate Spending? Evidence from Taxpayer Surveys," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 17, pages 83-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11535
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Parcell, Ann D., 1999. "Challenges and Uncertainties in Forecasting Federal Individual Income Tax Receipts," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 3), pages 325-38, September.
    2. Shapiro, Matthew D & Slemrod, Joel, 1995. "Consumer Response to the Timing of Income: Evidence from a Change in Tax Withholding," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 274-283, March.
    3. 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.
    4. Parcell, Ann D., 1999. "Challenges and Uncertainties in Forecasting Federal Individual Income Tax Receipts," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(3), pages 325-338, September.
    5. Souleles, Nicholas S., 2002. "Consumer response to the Reagan tax cuts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 99-120, July.
    6. Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2003. "Consumer Response to Tax Rebates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 381-396, March.
    7. William G. Gale & John Sabelhaus, 1999. "Perspectives on the Household Saving Rate," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 30(1), pages 181-224.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Chambers, Valrie & Spencer, Marilyn, 2008. "Does changing the timing of a yearly individual tax refund change the amount spent vs. saved?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 856-862, December.
    2. Leigh Andrew, 2012. "How Much Did the 2009 Australian Fiscal Stimulus Boost Demand? Evidence from Household-Reported Spending Effects," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-24, March.
    3. Arna Vardardottir & Michaela Pagel, 2016. "The Liquid Hand-to-Mouth: Evidence from a Personal Finance Management Software," 2016 Meeting Papers 789, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Damien Échevin, 2010. "Ricardian or Spender Consumers? Evidence from a Taxpayer Survey Questionnaire," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 30(2), pages 1526-1538.
    5. Sumit Agarwal & Leslie McGranahan, 2012. "Spending responses to state sales tax holidays," Working Paper Series WP-2012-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    6. Dimitris Christelis & Dimitris Georgarakos & Tullio Jappelli & Luigi Pistaferri & Maarten van Rooij, 2017. "Asymmetric Consumption Effects of Transitory Income Shocks," CSEF Working Papers 467, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    7. Lewis, Kenneth A. & Seidman, Laurence S., 2008. "Overcoming the zero interest-rate bound: A quantitative prescription," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 751-760.
    8. Michael Kumhof & Douglas Laxton, 2009. "Simple, Implementable Fiscal Policy Rules," IMF Working Papers 09/76, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Christoph A. Schaltegger & Martin Weder, 2010. "Fiskalpolitik als antizyklisches Instrument? Eine Betrachtung der Schweiz," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11(2), pages 146-177, May.
    10. Reuven Avi-Yonah, "undated". "The Pitfalls of International Integration: A Comment on the Bush Proposal and Its Aftermath," University of Michigan John M. Olin Center for Law & Economics Working Paper Series umichlwps-1007, University of Michigan John M. Olin Center for Law & Economics.
    11. Georg Fahrenschon & Clemens Fuest & Ralph Brügelmann & Willi Diez, 2009. "Konsumgutscheine, Steuer- und Zinssenkungen, Hilfspaket für die Automobilbranche: Sind das geeignete Mittel gegen die Rezession?," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 62(01), pages 03-15, January.
    12. Norbert Michel & Nazneen Ahmad, 2012. "Consumer response to child tax credit," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 1199-1214, December.
    13. Thomas Bishop & Cheolbeom Park, 2010. "Borrowing Constraints, the Marginal Propensity to Consume, and the Effectiveness of Fiscal Policy," Discussion Paper Series 1008, Institute of Economic Research, Korea University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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