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Author:Melcangi, Davide 

Discussion Paper
How Did State Reopenings Affect Small Businesses?

In our previous post, we looked at the effects that the reopening of state economies across the United States has had on consumer spending. We found a significant effect of reopening, especially regarding spending in restaurants and bars as well as in the healthcare sector. In this companion post, we focus specifically on small businesses, using two different sources of high-frequency data, and we employ a methodology similar to that of our previous post to study the effects of reopening on small business activity along various dimensions. Our results indicate that, much like for consumer ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200921

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

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Stock Market Participation, Inequality, and Monetary Policy

What role does stock investment play in the transmission of monetary policy to the real economy? We study this question using a New Keynesian model with heterogeneous households. Following a monetary tightening, stock market participants rebalance their investments away from stocks, in line with empirical evidence on mutual fund flows. This response depresses aggregate investment and hence aggregate output and income, which feeds back into an even larger decline in stock investment. The strength of this channel is, however, highly sensitive to household heterogeneity. Therefore, we design the ...
Staff Reports , Paper 932

Discussion Paper
Who’s Ready to Spend? Constrained Consumption across the Income Distribution

Spending on goods and services that were constrained during the pandemic is expected to grow at a fast pace as the economy reopens. In this post, we look at detailed spending data to track which consumption categories were the most constrained by the pandemic due to social distancing. We find that, in 2019, high-income households typically spent relatively more on these pandemic-constrained goods and services. Our findings suggest that these consumers may have strongly reduced consumption during the pandemic and will likely play a crucial role in unleashing pent-up demand when pandemic ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20210513b

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The marginal propensity to hire

This paper studies the link between firm-level financial constraints and employment decisions, as well as the implications for the propagation of aggregate shocks. I exploit the idea that, when the financial constraint binds, a firm adjusts its employment in response to cash flow shocks. I identify such shocks from changes to business rates, a U.K. tax based on a periodically estimated value of the property occupied by the firm. A 2010 revaluation implied that similar firms, occupying similar properties in narrowly defined geographical locations, experienced different tax changes, allowing me ...
Staff Reports , Paper 875

Discussion Paper
Did State Reopenings Increase Consumer Spending?

The spread of COVID-19 in the United States has had a profound impact on economic activity. Beginning in March, most states imposed severe restrictions on households and businesses to slow the spread of the virus. This was followed by a gradual loosening of restrictions (“reopening”) starting in April. As the virus has re-emerged, a number of states have taken steps to reverse the reopening of their economies. For example, Texas and Florida closed bars again in June, and Arizona additionally paused operations of gyms and movie theatres. Taken together, these measures raise the question of ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200918b

Discussion Paper
COVID-19 and Small Businesses: Uneven Patterns by Race and Income

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in one of the sharpest recessions and recoveries in U.S. history. As the virus spread over the country in a matter of weeks in March 2020, most states rapidly locked down nonessential economic activity, which plummeted as a result. As the first wave of COVID-19 subsided and people gradually learned to “live with the virus,” states reversed most of the initial lockdowns and economic activity rebounded. In our ongoing Economic Inequality series, we have explored many aspects of how the economic turmoil associated with COVID-19 differentially affected ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20210527a

Discussion Paper
Many Small Businesses in the Services Sector Are Unlikely to Reopen

The services sector was hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. Small businesses were particularly affected, and many of them were forced to close. We examine the state of these firms using micro data from Homebase (HB), a scheduling and time tracking tool that is used by around 100,000 businesses, mostly small firms, in the leisure and hospitality and retail industries. The data reveal that 35 percent of businesses that were active prior to the pandemic are still closed and that most have been inactive for twenty weeks or longer. We estimate that each additional week of being closed reduces ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20210505

Report
Firms’ Precautionary Savings and Employment during a Credit Crisis

Can the macroeconomic effects of credit supply shocks be large even when a small share of firms are credit-constrained? I use U.K. firm-level accounting data to discipline a heterogeneous-firm model in which the interaction between real and financial frictions induces precautionary cash holdings. In the data, firms increased their cash ratios during the last recession, and cash-intensive firms displayed higher employment growth. A tightening of firms? credit conditions generates the same dynamics in the model. Unconstrained firms pre-emptively respond to credit supply shocks, and this ...
Staff Reports , Paper 904

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