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Cash for Corollas: When Stimulus Reduces Spending

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  • Mark Hoekstra
  • Steven L. Puller
  • Jeremy West

Abstract

The 2009 Cash for Clunkers program aimed to stimulate consumer spending in the new automobile industry, which was experiencing disproportionate reductions in demand and employment during the Great Recession. Exploiting program eligibility criteria in a regression discontinuity design, we show nearly 60 percent of the subsidies went to households who would have purchased during the two-month program anyway; the rest accelerated sales by no more than eight months. Moreover, the program’s fuel efficiency restrictions shifted purchases toward vehicles that cost on average $5,000 less. On net, Cash for Clunkers significantly reduced total new vehicle spending over the ten month period.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Hoekstra & Steven L. Puller & Jeremy West, 2014. "Cash for Corollas: When Stimulus Reduces Spending," NBER Working Papers 20349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20349
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    Cited by:

    1. Athiphat Muthitacharoen & Krislert Samphantharak & Sommarat Chantarat, 2019. "Fiscal stimulus and debt burden: evidence from Thailand’s first-car-buyer tax rebate program," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 26(6), pages 1383-1415, December.
    2. Nishitateno, Shuhei & Burke, Paul J., 2021. "Willingness to pay for clean air: Evidence from diesel vehicle registration restrictions in Japan," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(C).
    3. Nano Barahona & Francisco A Gallego & Juan-Pablo Montero, 2020. "Vintage-Specific Driving Restrictions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(4), pages 1646-1682.
    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. Gavazza, Alessandro & Lanteri, Andrea, 2018. "Credit Shocks and Equilibrium Dynamics in Consumer Durable Goods Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 13229, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Yu-Chin Hsu & Chung-Ming Kuan & Giorgio Teng-Yu Lo, 2017. "Quantile Treatment Effects in Regression Discontinuity Designs with Covariates," IEAS Working Paper : academic research 17-A009, Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.
    7. Lüth, Hendrik, 2021. "Reassessing Car Scrappage Schemes in Selected OECD Countries: A Synthetic Control Method Application," Working Paper 190/2021, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg.
    8. Rittenhouse, Katherine & Zaragoza-Watkins, Matthew, 2018. "Anticipation and environmental regulation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 255-277.
    9. Marin, Giovanni & Zoboli, Roberto, 2020. "Effectiveness of car scrappage schemes: Counterfactual-based evidence on the Italian experience," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 21(C).
    10. Tanaka, Shinsuke, 2020. "When tax incentives drive illicit behavior: The manipulation of fuel economy in the automobile industry," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 104(C).
    11. Daniel Green & Brian T. Melzer & Jonathan A. Parker & Arcenis Rojas, 2020. "Accelerator or Brake? Cash for Clunkers, Household Liquidity, and Aggregate Demand," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 178-211, November.
    12. Houde, Sebastien & Aldy, Joseph E., 2014. "Belt and Suspenders and More: The Incremental Impact of Energy Efficiency Subsidies in the Presence of Existing Policy Instruments," Discussion Papers dp-14-34, Resources For the Future.
    13. Nicholas J. Sanders & Ryan Sandler, 2020. "Technology and the Effectiveness of Regulatory Programs over Time: Vehicle Emissions and Smog Checks with a Changing Fleet," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(3), pages 587-618.
    14. Klößner, Stefan & Pfeifer, Gregor, 2015. "Synthesizing Cash for Clunkers: Stabilizing the Car Market, Hurting the Environment," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113207, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    15. Tim Noparumpa & Kanis Saengchote, 2017. "The Impact of Tax Rebate on Used Car Market: Evidence from Thailand," International Review of Finance, International Review of Finance Ltd., vol. 17(1), pages 147-154, March.
    16. Francisco Gallego & Juan-Pablo Montero & Hernán Barahona, 2016. "Adopting a Cleaner Technology: The Effect of Driving Restrictions on Fleet Turnover," Documentos de Trabajo 469, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
    17. Sheldon, Tamara L. & Dua, Rubal, 2019. "Measuring the cost-effectiveness of electric vehicle subsidies," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
    18. Zaman, Hosain & Zaccour, Georges, 2020. "Vehicle scrappage incentives to accelerate the replacement decision of heterogeneous consumers," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 91(C).
    19. 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.
    20. Feld, Lars P. & Schmidt, Christoph M. & Schnabel, Isabel & Truger, Achim & Wieland, Volker, 2019. "Den Strukturwandel meistern. Jahresgutachten 2019/20," Annual Economic Reports / Jahresgutachten, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, volume 127, number 201920.
    21. 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.
    22. Rüth, Sebastian K. & Simon, Camilla, 2020. "How Do Income and the Debt Position of Households Propagate Public into Private Spending?," Working Papers 0676, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.

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    JEL classification:

    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • L5 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy

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