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The Heterogeneous Effects of Government Spending : It’s All About Taxes
This paper investigates how government spending multipliers depend on the distribution of taxes across households. We exploit historical variations in the financing of spending in the U.S. since 1913 to show that multipliers are positive only when financed with more progressive taxes, and zero otherwise. We rationalize this finding within a heterogeneous-household model with indivisible labor supply. The model results in a lower labor responsiveness to tax changes for higher-income earners. In turn, spending financed with more progressive taxes induces a smaller crowding-out, and thus larger ...
Balance-Sheet Households and Fiscal Stimulus: Lessons from the Payroll Tax Cut and Its Expiration
Balance-sheet repair drove the response of a significant fraction of households to fiscal stimulus following the Great Recession. By combining survey, behavioral, and time-series evidence on the 2011 payroll tax cut and its expiration in 2013, this papers identifies and analyzes households who smooth debt repayment. These "balance-sheet households" are as prevalent as "permanent-income households," who smooth consumption in response to the temporary tax cut, and outnumber "constrained households," who temporarily boost spending. The asymmetric spending response of balance-sheet ...
U.S. Federal Debt Has Increased, but Appears Sustainable for Now
The unprecedented fiscal stimulus packages that Congress passed earlier this year provided timely assistance to households and businesses, but also led to a sharp increase in U.S. federal government debt. We find that the current net federal debt level of about 100 percent of GDP does not pose a threat to fiscal sustainability. Over a longer horizon, debt sustainability will depend, to a large extent, on whether the federal government can curb mandatory spending or raise taxes.