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The Household Effects of Government Spending

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  • Francesco Giavazzi
  • Michael McMahon

Abstract

This paper provides new evidence on the effects of fiscal policy by studying, using household-level data, how households respond to shifts in government spending. Our identification strategy allows us to control for time-specific aggregate effects, such as the stance of monetary policy or the U.S.-wide business cycle. However, it potentially prevents us from estimating the wealth effects associated with a shift in spending. We find significant heterogeneity in households' response to a spending shock; the effects appear vary over time depending, among other factors, on the state of business cycle and, at a lower frequency, on the composition of employment (such as the share of workers in part-time jobs). Shifts in spending could also have important distributional effects that are lost when estimating an aggregate multiplier. Heads of households working relatively few (weekly) hours, for instance, suffer from a spending shock of the type we analyzed: their consumption falls, their hours increase and their real wages fall.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Giavazzi & Michael McMahon, 2012. "The Household Effects of Government Spending," CEP Discussion Papers dp1120, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1120
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    Cited by:

    1. Alari PaulusBy & Francesco Figari & Holly Sutherland, 2017. "The design of fiscal consolidation measures in the European Union: distributional effects and implications for macro-economic recovery," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(3), pages 632-654.
    2. Sylvain Leduc & Daniel Wilson, 2013. "Roads to Prosperity or Bridges to Nowhere? Theory and Evidence on the Impact of Public Infrastructure Investment," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 89-142.
    3. Bredemeier, Christian & Juessen, Falko & Winkler, Roland, 2017. "Man-cessions, fiscal policy, and the gender composition of employment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 73-76.
    4. Alesina, Alberto & Favero, Carlo & Giavazzi, Francesco, 2015. "The output effect of fiscal consolidation plans," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(S1), pages 19-42.
    5. Luiz de Mello, 2013. "What Can Fiscal Policy Do in the Current Recession? A Review of Recent Literature and Policy Options," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 204(1), pages 113-139, March.
    6. James S. Cloyne & Paolo Surico, 2017. "Household Debt and the Dynamic Effects of Income Tax Changes," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(1), pages 45-81.
    7. Alberto Alesina & Carlo Ambrogio Favero & Francesco Giavazzi, 2012. "The output effect of fiscal consolidations," Working Papers 450, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    8. Mr. Kevin Fletcher & Mr. Damiano Sandri, 2015. "How Delaying Fiscal Consolidation Affects the Present Value of GDP," IMF Working Papers 2015/052, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Pieroni, Luca & Lorusso, Marco, 2013. "The Role of Fiscal Policy Components in Private Consumption: a Re-examination of the Effects of Military and Civilian Spending," MPRA Paper 47878, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal policy; PSID; household consumption; labor supply;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

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