Working Papers

2018-04 | March 2018

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Regional Consumption Responses and the Aggregate Fiscal Multiplier

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We use regional variation in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (2009-2012) to analyze the effect of government spending on consumer spending. Our consumption data come from household-level retail purchases in Nielsen and auto purchases from Equifax credit balances. We estimate that a $1 increase in county-level government spending increases consumer spending by $0.18. We translate the regional consumption responses to an aggregate fiscal multiplier using a multi-region, New Keynesian model with heterogeneous agents and incomplete markets. Our model successfully generates the estimated positive local multiplier, a result that distinguishes our incomplete markets model from models with complete markets. The aggregate consumption multiplier is 0.4, which implies an output multiplier higher than one. The aggregate consumption multiplier is almost twice the local estimate because trade linkages propagate government spending across regions.

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Article Citation

Dupor, Bill, Marios Karabarbounis, Marianna Kudlyak, and M. Saif Mehkari. 2018. "Regional Consumption Responses and the Aggregate Fiscal Multiplier," Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Working Paper 2018-04. Available at https://doi.org/10.24148/wp2018-04