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How Much Did the 2009 Fiscal Stimulus Boost Spending? Evidence from a Household Survey


  • Andrew Leigh


Using survey evidence, I estimate the impact of a $12 billion package of household payments delivered in Australia between March and May 2009. Forty percent of households who said that they received the payment reported having spent it. This is approximately twice the spending rate that has been recorded in surveys assessing the 2001 and 2008 tax rebates in the United States. Using an approach for converting spending rates into an aggregate marginal propensity to consume (MPC), this is consistent with an aggregate MPC of 0.41-0.42. Since this estimate is based only on first-quarter spending, it may be an underestimate of the longer run impact of the package on consumer expenditure.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Leigh, 2009. "How Much Did the 2009 Fiscal Stimulus Boost Spending? Evidence from a Household Survey," CAMA Working Papers 2009-22, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:een:camaaa:2009-22

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tullio Jappelli & Luigi Pistaferri, 2010. "The Consumption Response to Income Changes," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 479-506, September.
    2. Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save More Tomorrow (TM): Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Saving," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages 164-187, February.
    3. Claudia R. Sahm & Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2010. "Household Response to the 2008 Tax Rebate: Survey Evidence and Aggregate Implications," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 24, pages 69-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. 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.
    5. Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2009. "Did the 2008 Tax Rebates Stimulate Spending?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 374-379, May.
    6. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard Thaler, 2004. "Save more tomorrow: Using behavioral economics to increase employee saving," Natural Field Experiments 00337, The Field Experiments Website.
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    Cited by:

    1. Shuyun May Li & Adam Spencer, 2014. "Effectiveness of the Australian Fiscal Stimulus Package: A DSGE Analysis," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1184, The University of Melbourne.
    2. Bruno Martorano, 2013. "The Australian Household Stimulus Package: Lessons from the recent economic crisis," Papers inwopa697, Innocenti Working Papers.
    3. LAURA BERGER-THOMSON & ELAINE CHUNG & REBECCA McKIBBIN, 2010. "Estimating Marginal Propensities to Consume in Australia Using Micro Data," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 86(s1), pages 49-60, September.
    4. Shuyun May Li & Adam Hal Spencer, 2016. "Effectiveness of the Australian Fiscal Stimulus Package: A DSGE Analysis," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 92(296), pages 94-120, March.
    5. Sinclair Davidson & Ashton de Silva, 2013. "Stimulating Savings: An Analysis of Cash Handouts in Australia and the United States," Agenda - A Journal of Policy Analysis and Reform, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics, vol. 20(2), pages 39-60.
    6. Andrea Neri & Concetta Rondinelli & Filippo Scoccianti, 2017. "Household spending out of a tax rebate: Italian “€80 tax bonus”," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 379, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    7. Bruno Martorano, 2015. "Lessons from the recent economic crisis: the Australian household stimulus package," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(3), pages 309-327, May.
    8. Jonathan A. Parker & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2017. "Reported Preference vs. Revealed Preference: Evidence from the Propensity to Spend Tax Rebates," NBER Working Papers 23920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Hielke Buddelmeyer & Kyle Peyton, 2013. "How Windfall Income Increases Gambling at Poker Machines," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2013n01, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    10. Carmignani, Fabrizio, 2015. "Can public expenditure stabilize output? Multipliers and policy interdependence in Queensland and Australia," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 69-81.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household


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