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Household consumption through recent recessions

  • Thomas Crossley

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Cambridge)

  • Hamish Low

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Trinity College, Cambridge)

  • Cormac O'Dea

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

This paper examines trends in household consumption and saving behaviour in each of the last three recessions in the UK. We identify several dimensions along which the most recent recession (the so-called 'Great Recession') has been different from those that occurred in the 1980s and 1990s. These include its depth and length as well as the composition of the cutbacks in expenditure - with a greater reliance on cuts to nondurable expenditure than was seen in previous recessions. We show that, both inside and outside recessions, the extent to which the growth in durable purchases is more volatile than growth in nondurable purchases has declined over the past 15 years. Finally, we present evidence that suggests that two aspects of fiscal policy in the UK in 2008 and 2009 - the temporary reduction in the rate of VAT and a car scrappage scheme - had some success in encouraging households to bring forward some durable purchases.

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Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W11/18.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:11/18
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  1. Maria Concetta Chiuri & Tullio Jappelli, 2006. "Do the elderly reduce housing equity? An international comparison," CSEF Working Papers 158, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  2. Allan Layton & Anirvan Banerji, 2003. "What is a recession?: A reprise," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(16), pages 1789-1797.
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  14. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Sarah Tanner, 1995. "Is there a retirement-savings puzzle?," IFS Working Papers W95/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  15. Martin Browning & Mette Ejrnæs, 2002. "Consumption and Children," CAM Working Papers 2002-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  16. Melanie Lührmann, 2010. "Consumer Expenditures and Home Production at Retirement - New Evidence from Germany," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11, pages 225-245, 05.
  17. Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley, 2004. "Shocks, stocks and socks: smoothing consumption over a temporary income loss," CAM Working Papers 2004-05, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  18. Raffaele Miniaci & Chiara Monfardini & Guglielmo Weber, 2003. "Is there a retirement consumption puzzle in Italy?," IFS Working Papers W03/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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