The effect of tax changes on consumer spending
Many supporters of the tax cut enacted this summer viewed it as an important stimulus to consumer spending. But an analysis of the effects of earlier income tax cuts suggests that the consumer response to such initiatives is, in fact, quite variable. Two conclusions stand out: First, consumers will be more likely to boost spending if the change in tax liabilities is permanent. Second, consumers will wait to increase spending until a tax change affects their take-home pay.
Low Productivity Growth: The Capital Formation Link
A major economic concern is the ongoing sluggishness in the growth of output per worker hour, generally called labor productivity. In an arithmetic sense, the growth of the economy can be accounted for by the increase in hours worked plus that of labor productivity. With the unemployment rate now at a level widely regarded as near ?full employment,? growth in hours worked is likely to be limited by demographic forces, most importantly the very limited expansion of the working-age population. If productivity growth also remains low, the sustainable pace of increase of real GDP will be limited ...
Evaluating recent trends in capital formation
Do alternative measures of GDP affect its interpretation?
Gross domestic product's high correlation with unemployment and inflation makes it a key measure of the U.S. economy. Yet the somewhat arbitrary nature of the GDP construction process complicates interpretation and measurement of the indicator. A study of an alternative measure of GDP designed to address the published series' limitations finds that the adjusted measure differs in its representation of the long-term trend--but not the short-term fluctuations--of GDP. The published series' relevance as an indicator is therefore robust to some of the arbitrariness of its construction.
Manufacturing productivity and high-tech investment
This article examines the theoretical and statistical connections between the productivity upsurge in U.S. manufacturing in the 1980s and manufacturing investment in computers and other forms of high-tech equipment.
The impact of reduced inflation estimates on real output and productivity growth
Despite posting their strongest sustained performance in many years, recent measures of output and productivity growth have still fallen short of their 1960-73 averages. Could data-measurement problems affecting the pricing of some services account for the inability of these widely tracked U.S. growth indexes to match their earlier rates?
How worrisome is a negative saving rate?
The U.S. personal saving rate's negative turn in 2005 has raised concerns that Americans may have to curtail their spending and accept a lower standard of living as they pay off rising debts. However, a closer look at saving trends suggests that the risks to household well-being are overstated. The surge in energy costs may have temporarily dampened saving, while the accounting of household income from stock holdings may be skewing saving estimates. Moreover, broad measures of saving have remained positive, and household wealth is on the rise.>
How important is the stock market effect on consumption?
Many argue that the astonishing growth in Americans' stock portfolios in the 1990s has been a major force behind the growth of consumer spending. This article reviews the relationship between stock market movements and consumption. Using various econometric techniques and specifications, the authors find that the propensity to consume out of aggregate household wealth has exhibited instability over the postwar period. They also show that the dynamic response of consumption growth to an unexpected change in wealth is extremely short-lived, implying that forecasts of consumption growth one or ...