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Fiscal Policy and MPC Heterogeneity

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Abstract

We use responses to survey questions in the 2010 Italian Survey of Household Income and Wealth that ask consumers how much of an unexpected transitory income change they would consume. We find that the marginal propensity to consume (MPC) is 48 percent on average, and that there is substantial heterogeneity in the distribution. We find that households with low cash-on-hand exhibit a much lower MPC than affluent households, which is in agreement with models with precautionary savings where income risk plays an important role. The results have important implications for the evaluation of fiscal policy, and for predicting household responses to tax reforms and redistributive policies. In particular, we find that a debt-financed increase in transfers of 1 percent of national disposable income targeted to the bottom decile of the cash-on-hand distribution would increase aggregate consumption by 0.82 percent. Furthermore, we find that redistributing 1% of national disposable from the top to the bottom decile of the income distribution would boost aggregate consumption by 0.1%.

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  • Tullio Jappelli & Luigi Pistaferri, 2012. "Fiscal Policy and MPC Heterogeneity," CSEF Working Papers 325, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 18 Dec 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:325
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    1. Tullio Jappelli & Luigi Pistaferri, 2010. "The Consumption Response to Income Changes," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 479-506, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ampudia, Miguel & Pavlickova, Akmaral & Slacalek, Jiri & Vogel, Edgar, 2016. "Household heterogeneity in the euro area since the onset of the Great Recession," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 181-197.
    2. repec:oup:oxecpp:v:69:y:2017:i:3:p:632-654. is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Krueger, D. & Mitman, K. & Perri, F., 2016. "Macroeconomics and Household Heterogeneity," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    4. Demyanyk, Yuliya & Luengo-Prado, Maria Jose & Hryshko, Dmytro & Sorensen, Bent E., 2015. "The Rise and Fall of Consumption in the 2000s," Working Paper 1507, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    5. Fabrizio Perri & Jonathan Heathcote, 2011. "Wealth and Volatility," 2011 Meeting Papers 1065, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Alari PaulusBy & Francesco Figari & Holly Sutherland, 2017. "The design of fiscal consolidation measures in the European Union: distributional effects and implications for macro-economic recovery," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(3), pages 632-654.
    7. Francesco D’Acunto & Daniel Hoang & Michael Weber, 2017. "The Effect of Unconventional Fiscal Policy on Consumption Expenditure," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 15(1), pages 09-11, April.
    8. Claudia R. Sahm & Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2015. "Balance-Sheet Households and Fiscal Stimulus: Lessons from the Payroll Tax Cut and Its Expiration," NBER Working Papers 21220, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Bardsley, Nicholas & Büchs, Milena & Schnepf, Sylke V., 2016. "Something from Nothing: Estimating Consumption Rates Using Propensity Scores, with Application to Emissions Reduction Policies," IZA Discussion Papers 9707, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. De Giorgi, Giacomo & Frederiksen, Anders & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2016. "Consumption Network Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 9983, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Rozsypal, Filip & Schlafmann, Kathrin, 2017. "Overpersistence Bias in Individual Income Expectations and its Aggregate Implications," CEPR Discussion Papers 12028, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Savignac, Frédérique & Arrondel, Luc & Lamarche, Pierre, 2015. "Wealth effects on consumption across the wealth distribution: empirical evidence," Working Paper Series 1817, European Central Bank.
    13. Bilbiie, Florin Ovidiu & Ragot, Xavier, 2017. "Optimal Monetary Policy and Liquidity with Heterogeneous Households," CEPR Discussion Papers 11814, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. repec:sip:dpaper:15-010 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Monica Andini & Emanuele Ciani & Guido de Blasio & Alessio D'Ignazio & Viola Salvestrini, 2017. "Targeting policy-compliers with machine learning: an application to a tax rebate programme in Italy," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1158, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    16. Christelis, Dimitris & Georgarakos, Dimitris & Jappelli, Tullio & Pistaferri, Luigi & Van Rooij, Maarten, 2017. "Asymmetric Consumption Effects of Transitory Income Shocks," CEPR Discussion Papers 12025, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Surico, Paolo & Trezzi, Riccardo, 2015. "Consumer Spending and Fiscal Consolidation: Evidence from a Housing Tax Experiment," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-57, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), revised 20 Jan 2016.
    18. Robert A. Blecker, 2015. "Wage-led Versus Profit-led Demand Regimes: The Long and Short of It," Working Papers 2015-05, American University, Department of Economics.
    19. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2014. "House Price Gains and U.S. Household Spending from 2002 to 2006," NBER Working Papers 20152, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Athreya, Kartik B. & Owens, Andrew & Schwartzman, Felipe, 2014. "Does Redistribution Increase Output? The Centrality of Labor Supply," Working Paper 14-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    21. Rodney Ramcharan & Amir Kermani & Marco Di Maggio, 2015. "Monetary Policy Pass-Through: Household Consumption and Voluntary Deleveraging," 2015 Meeting Papers 256, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    22. Mikhed, Vyacheslav & Scholnick, Barry, 2016. "The Causes of Household Bankruptcy: The Interaction of Income Shocks and Balance Sheets," Working Papers 16-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    23. Bilbiie, Florin Ovidiu, 2017. "The New Keynesian Cross: Understanding Monetary Policy with Hand-to-Mouth Households," CEPR Discussion Papers 11989, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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    Keywords

    Marginal Propensity to Consume; Fiscal Policy; Consumption Heterogeneity;

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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