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Keywords:marginal propensity to consume 

Discussion Paper
“Excess Savings” Are Not Excessive

How will the U.S. economy emerge from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic? Will it struggle to return to prior levels of employment and activity, or will it come roaring back as soon as vaccinations are widespread and Americans feel comfortable travelling and eating out? Part of the answer to these questions hinges on what will happen to the large amount of “excess savings” that U.S. households have accumulated since last March. According to most estimates, these savings are around $1.6 trillion and counting. Some economists have expressed the concern that, if a considerable fraction of these ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20210405a

Working Paper
Heterogeneity in the Marginal Propensity to Consume: Evidence from Covid-19 Stimulus Payments

We identify 16,016 recipients of Covid-19 Economic Impact Payments in anonymized transaction-level debit card data from Facteus. We use an event study framework to show that in the two weeks following a sudden $1,200 payment from the IRS, consumers immediately increased spending by an average of $577, implying a marginal propensity to consume (MPC) of 48%. Consumer spending falls back to normal levels after two weeks. Stimulus recipients who live paycheck-to-paycheck spend 68% of the stimulus payment immediately, while recipients who save much of their monthly income spend 23% of the stimulus ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2020-15

Report
What would you do with $500? Spending responses to gains, losses, news, and loans

We use survey questions about spending to investigate features of propensities to consume that are useful for distinguishing between consumption theories. Asking households about their intended spending under various scenarios, we find that 1) responses to unanticipated gains are vastly heterogeneous (either zero or substantially positive), 2) responses to losses are much larger and more widespread than responses to gains, and 3) even those with large responses to gains do not respond to news about future gains. These three findings suggest that limited access to disposable resources is an ...
Staff Reports , Paper 843

Working Paper
Heterogeneity in the Marginal Propensity to Consume: Evidence from Covid-19 Stimulus Payments

We identify 22,340 recipients of Covid-19 Economic Impact Payments in anonymized transaction-level debit card data from Facteus. We use an event study framework to show that in the two weeks following a sudden $1,200 payment from the IRS, consumers immediately increased spending by an average of $604, implying a marginal propensity to consume (MPC) of 50%. Consumer spending fell back to normal levels after two weeks. Stimulus recipients who live paycheck-to-paycheck spend 62% of the stimulus payment within two weeks, while recipients who save much of their monthly income spend only 35% of the ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2020-15

Discussion Paper
How Have Households Used Their Stimulus Payments and How Would They Spend the Next?

In this post, we examine how households used economic impact payments, a large component of the CARES Act signed into law on March 27 that directed stimulus payments to many Americans to help offset the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. An important question in evaluating how much this part of the CARES Act stimulated the economy concerns what share of these payments households used for consumption—what economists call the marginal propensity to consume (MPC). There also is interest in learning the extent to which the payments contributed to the sharp increase in the U.S. ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20201013b

Working Paper
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 ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-37

Report
Latent Heterogeneity in the Marginal Propensity to Consume

We estimate the unconditional distribution of the marginal propensity to consume (MPC) using clustering regression and the 2008 stimulus payments. Since we do not measure heterogeneity as the variation of MPCs with observables, we can recover the full distribution of MPCs. Households spent at least one quarter of the rebate, and individual households used rebates for different goods. While many observables are individually correlated with our estimated MPCs, these relationships disappear when tested jointly, except for nonsalary income and the average propensity to consume. Household ...
Staff Reports , Paper 902

Working Paper
Heterogeneity in the Marginal Propensity to Consume: Evidence from Covid-19 Stimulus Payments

We identify 16,016 recipients of Covid-19 Economic Impact Payments in anonymized transaction-level debit card data from Facteus. We use an event study framework to show that in the two weeks following a sudden $1,200 payment from the IRS, consumers immediately increased spending by an average of $577, implying a marginal propensity to consume (MPC) of 48%. Consumer spending falls back to normal levels after two weeks. Stimulus recipients who live paycheck-to-paycheck spend 68% of the stimulus payment immediately, while recipients who save much of their monthly income spend 23% of the stimulus ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP 2020-15

Working Paper
Estimating the marginal propensity to consume using the distributions of income, consumption and wealth

Recent studies of economic inequality almost always separately examine income, consumption, and wealth inequality and, hence, miss the important synergy among the three measures explicit in the life-cycle budget constraint. Using Panel Study of Income Dynamics data from 1999 through 2013, we examine whether these changes are more dramatic at higher or lower levels of wealth and find that the marginal propensity to consume is lower at higher wealth quintiles. This suggests that low-wealth households cannot smooth consumption as much as other households do, which further implies that increasing ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-4

Working Paper
Heterogeneity in the Marginal Propensity to Consume: Evidence from Covid-19 Stimulus Payments

We identify 22,461 recipients of Covid-19 Economic Impact Payments in anonymized transaction-levelbank account data from Facteus. We use an event study framework to show that in the two weeks followinga $1,200 stimulus payment in April 2020, consumers increased spending by $546, implying a marginalpropensity to consume of 46%. Consumers used an additional 10% of the stimulus payment to pay offdebt. Consumer spending fell to normal levels after two weeks. Stimulus recipients who live paycheckto-paycheck spent 60% of the stimulus payment within two weeks, while recipients who save much oftheir ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2020-15

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