Homeowner Balance Sheets and Monetary Policy
This paper empirically identifies an important channel through which monetary policy affects consumer spending: homeowner balance sheets. A monetary loosening increases home values, thereby strengthening homeowner balance sheets and stimulating household spending due to a combination of collateral and wealth effects. The magnitude of these effects on a given household depends on local housing market characteristics such as local geography and regulation. Cities with the largest geographic and regulatory barriers to new construction see 3-4 percent responses in real house prices compared with ...
A Not-So-Great Recovery in Consumption : What is Holding Back Household Spending?
Historically, aggregate consumption has closely tracked disposable personal income, government transfers, and household net wealth. In this note, we show that this empirical relationship has broken down in recent years and explore potential explanations for why consumers--at least in the aggregate--may not be spending in line with recent income and wealth gains.
Do Lower Gasoline Prices Boost Confidence?
A gallon of gasoline currently costs one third less than it did last summer.
High-frequency Spending Responses to the Earned Income Tax Credit
Many households face large, high-frequency changes in income and have limited financial buffers to smooth their consumption through this income volatility. However, few studies have quantified spending responses to such timing shifts in income due to a lack of high-frequency spending data. We use a new dataset of anonymized daily, state-level spending to study a two-week delay in federal tax refunds with an earned income tax credit (EITC) in 2017.
The Unusual Composition of Demand during the Pandemic
In most recessions, household spending on goods—particularly durables—and housing tends to fall sharply and remain weak for many quarters. In contrast, services spending has generally responded little to business cycles. This time, however, the opposite has occurred, as shown in Figure 1.
The Effect of Sales-Tax Holidays on Consumer Spending
Over the past decade, many U.S. states have enacted policies that temporarily exempt consumer purchases of certain goods from state sales taxes. In this note, we investigate whether the pre-announced sales-tax holidays noticeably alter the spending behavior of consumers. Specifically, we investigate whether there are shifts in the level and/or composition of consumer spending before, during, and after these sales-tax holidays.
Greater Wealth, Greater Uncertainty: Changes in Racial Inequality in the Survey of Consumer Finances
We document racial disparities in financial well-being in the 2022 Survey of Consumer Finances. The typical White family had about six times as much wealth as the typical Black family, and five times as much as the typical Hispanic family.
House Price Growth and Inflation During COVID-19
House prices have risen rapidly during the pandemic, creating $9 trillion in owner occupied housing wealth between the first quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2022. Both housing and non-housing inflation also moved up over this time period to its highest level in many decades.
Living at Home Ain't Such a Drag (on Spending): Young Adults' Spending In and Out of Their Parents' Home
In this Note, we quantify the net change in annual spending by a young adult who has just moved out of her parents' home.
From Transactions Data to Economic Statistics: Constructing Real-time, High-frequency, Geographic Measures of Consumer Spending
Access to timely information on consumer spending is important to economic policymakers. The Census Bureau's monthly retail trade survey is a primary source for monitoring consumer spending nationally, but it is not well suited to study localized or short-lived economic shocks. Moreover, lags in the publication of the Census estimates and subsequent, sometimes large, revisions diminish its usefulness for real-time analysis. Expanding the Census survey to include higher frequencies and subnational detail would be costly and would add substantially to respondent burden. We take an alternative ...