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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 ...
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.
The Effect of Hurricane Matthew on Consumer Spending
In this note, we take a step forward in this regard using a new dataset of transaction volumes to examine how consumers reacted to Hurricane Matthew, which struck the East Coast in October 2016.
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.