Is a Tax Rebate an Effective Tool for Combating a Recession?: A Reply to Shapiro and Slemrod
The purpose of this paper is to reply to Shapiro and Slemrod's recent article in the American Economic Review (March 2003) and address the broader issue: Is a tax rebate an effective tool for combating a recession? We make three points. First, there are serious problems with their consumer surveys. Second, they do not obtain any direct evidence on the marginal propensity to consume (MPC) out of the rebate. Third, even if their survey results were valid, simulations show that a tax rebate twice as large repeated for four quarters would have significantly mitigated the 2001 recession. Thus, their negative conclusion about the effectiveness of counter-cyclical fiscal policy is unwarranted.
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- Nicholas S. Souleles, 1999. "The Response of Household Consumption to Income Tax Refunds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 947-958, September.
- Souleles, Nicholas S., 2002. "Consumer response to the Reagan tax cuts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 99-120, July.
- Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2001.
"Consumer Response to Tax Rebates,"
NBER Working Papers
8672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- N. Gregory Mankiw, 2000.
"The Savers-Spenders Theory of Fiscal Policy,"
NBER Working Papers
7571, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- N. Gregory Mankiw, 1999. "The Savers-Spenders Theory of Fiscal Policy," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1888, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 1993.
"Consumer Response to the Timing of Income: Evidence from a Change in Tax Withholding,"
NBER Working Papers
4344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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 274-83, March.
- Seidman, Laurence S & Lewis, Kenneth A, 2002. "A New Design for Automatic Fiscal Policy," International Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(2), pages 251-84, Summer.
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