Department of Economics

IS A TAX REBATE AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR COMBATING A RECESSION?

Department of Economics

University of Delaware

Working Paper #2003-15

IS A TAX REBATE AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR COMBATING A RECESSION?:

A REPLY TO SHAPIRO AND SLEMROD

Laurence Seidman and Kenneth Lewis

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this paper is to reply to Shapiro and Slemrod's recent article in the American Economic Review (March 2003) and address the broader issue: Is a tax rebate an effective tool for combating a recession? We make three points. First, there are serious problems with their consumer surveys. Second, they do not obtain any direct evidence on the marginal propensity to consume (MPC) out of the rebate. Third, even if their survey results were valid, simulations show that a tax rebate twice as large repeated for four quarters would have significantly mitigated the 2001 recession. Thus, their negative conclusion about the effectiveness of counter-cyclical fiscal policy is unwarranted.

The Lerner College is home to a state-of-the-art financial trading facility, the $1.4 million student-led Blue Hen Investment Fund, a student-managed restaurant and hotel, a high-technology development center of a global bank and a start-up experience for students with new business ideas.

Lerner College faculty - like Anu Sivaraman, who is among Social Media Marketing Magazine’s “Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter” and MBAprograms.org’s “Top 50 Marketing Professors on Twitter” - are thought leaders who command attention from influential business audiences, economists and policy makers.

All Lerner College departments offer experience-driven learning and emphasize evidence-based analytics methods to enrich the student experience. Here, finance students visit New York City’s financial districts for a first-hand look at markets trading and to meet with UD alumni.

Charles W. Horn, AS75, and wife Patricia, recently made a $3 million commitment to enhance and expand entrepreneurial studies.

  • Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics
    303 Alfred Lerner Hall  •  Newark, DE 19716  •  USA  •  ©