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The Households Effects of Government Consumption

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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 Households Effects of Government Consumption," NBER Working Papers 17837, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17837
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Carlo Favero & Francesco Giavazzi & Jacopo Perego, 2011. "Country Heterogeneity and the International Evidence on the Effects of Fiscal Policy," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 59(4), pages 652-682, November.
    2. Christopher J. Nekarda & Valerie A. Ramey, 2011. "Industry Evidence on the Effects of Government Spending," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 36-59, January.
    3. Giavazzi, Francesco & McMahon, Michael, 2008. "Policy Uncertainty and Precautionary Savings," CEPR Discussion Papers 6766, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Eric M. Leeper & Nora Traum & Todd B. Walker, 2017. "Clearing Up the Fiscal Multiplier Morass," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(8), pages 2409-2454, August.
    5. Alan J. Auerbach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2012. "Fiscal Multipliers in Recession and Expansion," NBER Chapters, in: Fiscal Policy after the Financial Crisis, pages 63-98, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Emi Nakamura & J?n Steinsson, 2014. "Fiscal Stimulus in a Monetary Union: Evidence from US Regions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(3), pages 753-792, March.
    7. Richard Blundell & Luigi Pistaferri & Ian Preston, 2008. "Consumption Inequality and Partial Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1887-1921, December.
    8. Joseph Cullen & Price V. Fishback, 2006. "Did Big Government's Largesse Help the Locals? The Implications of WWII Spending for Local Economic Activity, 1939-1958," NBER Working Papers 12801, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Valerio Ercolani, 2010. "The Precautionary Effect of Government Expenditures on Private Consumption," 2010 Meeting Papers 826, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Emily Anderson & Atsushi Inoue & Barbara Rossi, 2016. "Heterogeneous Consumers and Fiscal Policy Shocks," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 48(8), pages 1877-1888, December.
    2. Walberti Saith & Joanna Giorgios Alexopoulos & Leonardo Bornacki De Mattos, 2018. "The Effects Of Fiscal Policy On Income Inequality In A Model With Heterogeneous Agents," Anais do XLIV Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 44th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 92, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    3. Ercolani Valerio & Pavoni Nicola, 2019. "The Precautionary Saving Effect of Government Consumption," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 19(1), pages 1-32, January.
    4. Aart Kraay, 2014. "Government Spending Multipliers in Developing Countries: Evidence from Lending by Official Creditors," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 170-208, October.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • 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
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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