April 2017

The Household Expenditure Response to a Consumption Tax Rate Increase

David Cashin


This study measures the effect of an increase in Japan's Value Added Tax rate on the timing of household expenditures and consumption, which do not necessarily coincide. The analysis finds that durable and storable expenditures surged in the month prior to the tax rate increase, fell sharply upon implementation, but quickly returned to their previous long-run levels. Non-storable non-durable expenditures increased slightly in the month prior to the tax rate increase, but were otherwise unresponsive. A dynamic structural model of household consumption reveals that the observed expenditure responses were driven by stockpiling behavior, the insensitivity of durable and non-durable consumption to a change in the real interest rate, and strong complementarities between durables and non-durables. The results suggest that salient intertemporal price variation may have a large, though highly transitory impact on household expenditures.

Accessible materials (.zip)

Keywords: Consumption, Fiscal policy, Intertemporal substitution, VAT

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2017.035

PDF: Full Paper

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Last Update: January 09, 2020