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How Individuals Respond to a Liquidity Shock: Evidence from the 2013 Government Shutdown

Author

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  • Michael Gelman
  • Shachar Kariv
  • Matthew D. Shapiro
  • Dan Silverman
  • Steven Tadelis

Abstract

Using comprehensive account records, this paper examines how individuals adjusted spending and saving in response to a temporary drop in liquidity due to the 2013 U.S. government shutdown. The shutdown cut paychecks by 40% for affected employees, which was recovered within 2 weeks. Because the shutdown affected only the timing of payments, it provides a distinctive experiment allowing estimates of the response to a liquidity shock holding income constant. Spending dropped sharply, implying a naïve estimate of 58 cents less spending for every dollar of lost liquidity. This estimate overstates the consumption response. While many individuals had low liquid assets, they used multiple sources of short-term liquidity to smooth consumption. Sources of short-term liquidity include delaying recurring payments such as for mortgages and credit card balances.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Gelman & Shachar Kariv & Matthew D. Shapiro & Dan Silverman & Steven Tadelis, 2015. "How Individuals Respond to a Liquidity Shock: Evidence from the 2013 Government Shutdown," NBER Working Papers 21025, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21025
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    Cited by:

    1. Kyle Herkenhoff & Lee Ohanian, 2019. "The Impact of Foreclosure Delay on U.S. Employment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 31, pages 63-83, January.
    2. Milan van den Heuvel & Benjamin Vandermarliere & Koen Schoors, 2019. "The Asymmetric Response Of Consumption To Income Changes And The Effect Of Liquid Wealth," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 19/958, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    3. Jacqueline Doremus & Irene Jacqz & Sarah Johnston, 2020. "Sweating the energy bill: Extreme weather, poor households, and the energy spending gap," Working Papers 2002, California Polytechnic State University, Department of Economics.
    4. Maciej Albinowski, 2017. "The role of fractional-reserve banking in amplifying credit booms: evidence from panel data," Working Papers 2017-024, Warsaw School of Economics, Collegium of Economic Analysis.
    5. Peter Ganong & Damon Jones & Pascal J. Noel & Fiona E. Greig & Diana Farrell & Chris Wheat, 2020. "Wealth, Race, and Consumption Smoothing of Typical Income Shocks," NBER Working Papers 27552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Joanna Stavins, 2021. "Unprepared For Financial Shocks: Emergency Savings And Credit Card Debt," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(1), pages 59-82, January.
    7. Filipe Correia & Gustavo S. Cortes & Thiago C. Silva, 2021. "Is Corporate Credit Risk Propagated to Employees?," Working Papers Series 551, Central Bank of Brazil, Research Department.
    8. John Beshears & James J. Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte C. Madrian & William L. Skimmyhorn, 2022. "Borrowing to Save? The Impact of Automatic Enrollment on Debt," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 77(1), pages 403-447, February.
    9. Kyle Herkenhoff & Gordon Phillips & Ethan Cohen-Cole, 2016. "How Credit Constraints Impact Job Finding Rates, Sorting & Aggregate Output," Working Papers 16-25, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    10. Maciej Albinowski, 2017. "The role of fractional-reserve banking in amplifying credit booms: evidence from panel data," Working Papers 2016-024, Warsaw School of Economics, Collegium of Economic Analysis.
    11. Mian, A. & Sufi, A., 2016. "Who Bears the Cost of Recessions? The Role of House Prices and Household Debt," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 255-296, Elsevier.
    12. Tal Gross & Timothy Layton & Daniel Prinz, 2020. "The Liquidity Sensitivity of Healthcare Consumption: Evidence from Social Security Payments," NBER Working Papers 27977, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Scott Ross Baker & Contantine Yannelis, 2017. "Income Changes and Consumption: Evidence from the 2013 Federal Government Shutdown," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 23, pages 99-124, January.
    14. Khanal, Binod, 2020. "Cash transfers and consumption of healthy and unhealthy food: evidence from tax refunds," 2020 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, Kansas City, Missouri 304346, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    15. Brian Baugh & Itzhak Ben-David & Hoonsuk Park & Jonathan A. Parker, 2021. "Asymmetric Consumption Smoothing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 111(1), pages 192-230, January.
    16. Tal Gross & Matthew J. Notowidigdo & Jialan Wang, 2016. "The Marginal Propensity to Consume Over the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 22518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Momi Dahan & Udi Nisan, 2020. "Late Payments, Liquidity Constraints and the Mismatch between Due Dates and Paydays," CESifo Working Paper Series 8733, CESifo.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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