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The production impact of "cash-for-clunkers": implications for stabilization policy

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  • Adam Copeland
  • James A. Kahn

Abstract

Stabilization policies frequently aim to boost spending as a means to increase GDP. Spending does not necessarily translate into production, however, especially when inventories are involved. We look at the “cash-for-clunkers” program that helped finance the purchase of nearly 700,000 vehicles in 2009. An analysis of auto sales and production movements reveals that the program did prompt a large spike in sales. But the program had only a modest and fleeting impact on production, as inventories buffered the movements in sales. These findings suggest caution in judging the efficacy of such policies by their impact on spending alone.

Suggested Citation

  • Adam Copeland & James A. Kahn, 2011. "The production impact of "cash-for-clunkers": implications for stabilization policy," Staff Reports 503, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:503
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Igal Hendel & Aviv Nevo, 2006. "Measuring the Implications of Sales and Consumer Inventory Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1637-1673, November.
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    3. Abrams Burton A & Parsons George R, 2009. "Is CARS a Clunker?," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 6(8), pages 1-4, August.
    4. James A. Kahn & Mark Bils, 2000. "What Inventory Behavior Tells Us about Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 458-481, June.
    5. Adam Copeland & George Hall, 2011. "The response of prices, sales, and output to temporary changes in demand," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(2), pages 232-269, March.
    6. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2012. "The Effects of Fiscal Stimulus: Evidence from the 2009 Cash for Clunkers Program," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1107-1142.
    7. Tülin Erdem & Susumu Imai & Michael Keane, 2003. "Brand and Quantity Choice Dynamics Under Price Uncertainty," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 5-64, March.
    8. Kahn, James A, 1987. "Inventories and the Volatility of Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 667-679, September.
    9. Martin Feldstein & Alan Auerbach, 1976. "Inventory Behavior in Durable-Goods Manufacturing: The Target-Adjustment Model," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 7(2), pages 351-408.
    10. Timothy F. Bresnahan & Valerie A. Ramey, 1994. "Output Fluctuations at the Plant Level," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 593-624.
    11. Li, Shanjun & Linn, Joshua & Spiller, Elisheba, 2010. "Evaluating “Cash-for-Clunkers”: Program Effect on Auto Sales, Jobs, and the Environment," Discussion Papers dp-10-39, Resources For the Future.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alessandro Gavazza & Alessandro Lizzeri & Nikita Roketskiy, 2014. "A Quantitative Analysis of the Used-Car Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(11), pages 3668-3700, November.
    2. Huang, Jian & Leng, Mingming & Liang, Liping & Luo, Chunlin, 2014. "Qualifying for a government’s scrappage program to stimulate consumers’ trade-in transactions? Analysis of an automobile supply chain involving a manufacturer and a retailer," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 239(2), pages 363-376.
    3. Adam Copeland & James A. Kahn, 2012. "Exchange rate pass-through, markups, and inventories," Staff Reports 584, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    4. Mark Hoekstra & Steven L. Puller & Jeremy West, 2017. "Cash for Corollas: When Stimulus Reduces Spending," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 1-35, July.
    5. Paredes, Joan, 2017. "Subsidising car purchases in the euro area: any spill-over on production?," Working Paper Series 2094, European Central Bank.
    6. Chao Wei & Shanjun Li, 2014. "The Cost of Greening Stimulus: A Dynamic Discrete Choice Analysis of Vehicle Scrappage Programs," Working Papers 2014-12, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    7. Grigolon, Laura & Leheyda, Nina & Verboven, Frank, 2016. "Scrapping subsidies during the financial crisis — Evidence from Europe," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 41-59.
    8. Ashok Kaul & Gregor Pfeifer & Stefan Witte, 2016. "The incidence of Cash for Clunkers: Evidence from the 2009 car scrappage scheme in Germany," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(6), pages 1093-1125, December.
    9. Leheyda, Nina & Verboven, Frank, 2013. "Scrapping Subsidies during the Financial Crisis - Evidence from the Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 9629, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Jeremy West & Mark Hoekstra & Jonathan Meer & Steven L. Puller, 2015. "Vehicle Miles (Not) Traveled: Why Fuel Economy Requirements Don't Increase Household Driving," NBER Working Papers 21194, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Klößner, Stefan & Pfeifer, Gregor, 2015. "Synthesizing Cash for Clunkers: Stabilizing the Car Market, Hurting the Environment," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113207, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. repec:bla:irvfin:v:17:y:2017:i:1:p:147-154 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Heechul Min, 2015. "Korea's Cash-for-Clunkers Program: Household-Level Evidence," Asian Economic Journal, East Asian Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 347-363, December.
    14. West, Jeremy & Hoekstra, Mark & Meer, Jonathan & Puller, Steven L., 2017. "Vehicle miles (not) traveled: Fuel economy requirements, vehicle characteristics, and household driving," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 65-81.

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    Keywords

    Economic policy ; Inventories ; Automobile industry and trade ; Industrial productivity ; Consumption (Economics);

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