So, Why Didn’t the 2009 Recovery Act Improve the Nation’s Highways and Bridges?
Although the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Recovery Act) provided nearly $28 billion to state governments for improving U.S. highways, the highway system saw no significant improvement. For example, relative to the years before the act, the number of structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges was nearly unchanged, the number of workers on highway and bridge construction did not significantly increase, and the annual value of construction put in place for public highways barely budged. The author shows that as states spent Recovery Act highway grants, many ...
The 2009 recovery act: stimulus at the extensive and intensive labor margins
This paper studies the effect of government stimulus spending on a novel aspect of the labor market: the differential impact of spending on the total wage bill versus employment. We analyze the 2009 Recovery Act via instrumental variables using a new instrument, the spending done by federal agencies that were not instructed to target funds towards harder hit regions. We find a moderate positive effect on jobs created/saved (i.e., "the extensive margin") and also a significant increase in wage payments to workers whose job status was safe without Recovery Act funds (i.e., "the intensive ...
Schools and Stimulus
This paper analyzes the impact of the education funding component of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the Recovery Act) on public school districts. We use cross- Sectional differences in district-level Recovery Act funding to investigate the program's impact on staffing, expenditures and debt accumulation. To achieve identification, we use exogenous variation across districts in the allocations of Recovery Act funds for special needs students. We estimate that $1 million of grants to a district had the following effects: expenditures increased by $570 thousand, district ...
The Jobs Effect of Ending Pandemic Unemployment Benefits: A State-Level Analysis
This paper uses the asynchronous cessation of emergency unemployment benefits (EUB) in 2021 to investigate the jobs impact of ending unemployment benefits. While some states stopped providing EUB in September, others stopped as early as June. Using the cessation month as an instrument, we estimate the effect on employment of reducing unemployment rolls. In the second month following a state’s program termination, for every 100 person reduction in beneficiaries, state employment causally increased by about 27 persons. The effect is statistically different from zero and robust to a wide array ...
Liftoff and the Natural Rate of Interest
The natural rate is viewed in some circles as a useful concept for the FOMC in setting the federal funds rate.
The Expected Inflation Channel of Government Spending in the Postwar U.S.
There exist sticky price models in which the output response to a government spending change can be large if the central bank is nonresponsive to inflation. According to this "expected inflation channel," government spending drives up expected inflation, which in turn, reduces the real interest rate and leads to an increase in private consumption. This paper examines whether the channel was important in the post-WWII U.S., with particular attention to the 2009 Recovery Act period. First, we show that a model calibrated to have a large output multiplier requires a large response of expected ...
Estimating Aggregate Fiscal Multipliers from Local Data
Variations among regions in their responses to economic policies can be used to estimate the effects of those policies at the national level while minimizing or eliminating issues of reverse causation. Recent research has employed county-level data to look at the effects of federal government spending ? in particular, the 2009?12 stimulus ? on aggregate consumption.
The Efficacy of Enhanced Unemployment Benefits during a Pandemic
To help laid-off and furloughed workers, providing enhanced unemployment insurance benefits may be quicker and more efficient than using small business payroll loans.
A Tale of Two Business Cycles during the Pandemic
A Census household survey and BEA data on personal income paint different pictures of the U.S. economy.
Decomposing the Government Transfer Multiplier
We estimate the local, spillover and aggregate causal effects of government transfers on personal income. We identify exogenous changes in federal transfers to residents at the state-level using legislated social security cost-of-living adjustments between 1952 and 1974. Each effect is measured as a multiplier: the change in personal income in response to a one unit change in transfers. The local multiplier, i.e., the effect of own-state transfers on own-state income holding fixed other state's income, at a four-quarter horizon is approximately 3.4. The cross-state spillover multiplier is ...