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Author:Aron-Dine, Shifrah 

Working Paper
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 approach to fill these information gaps. Using anonymized transactions data from a large electronic payments technology company, we create daily estimates of retail spending at detailed geographies. Our daily estimates are available only a few days after the transactions occur, and the historical time series are available from 2010 to the present. When aggregated to the national leve l, the pattern of monthly growth rates is similar to the official Census statistics. We discuss two applications of these new data for economic analysis: First, we describe how our monthly spending estimates are useful for real-time monitoring of aggregate spending, especially during the government shutdown in 2019, when Census data were delayed and concerns about the economy spiked. Second, we show how the geographic detail allowed us quantify in real time the spending effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in 2017.
AUTHORS: Aladangady, Aditya; Aron-Dine, Shifrah; Dunn, Wendy E.; Feiveson, Laura; Lengermann, Paul; Sahm, Claudia R.
DATE: 2019-08

Journal Article
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.
AUTHORS: Aladangady, Aditya; Aron-Dine, Shifrah; Cashin, David B.; Dunn, Wendy E.; Feiveson, Laura; Lengermann, Paul; Richard, Katherine; Sahm, Claudia R.
DATE: 2018-06-21

Journal Article
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.
AUTHORS: Aladangady, Aditya; Aron-Dine, Shifrah; Dunn, Wendy E.; Feiveson, Laura; Lengermann, Paul; Sahm, Claudia R.
DATE: 2017-03-24

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