Alexander Hodbod, Cars Hommes, Stefanie J. Huber, Isabelle Salle, 21 December 2020

The profound and protracted experience of the COVID-19 crisis may fundamentally change consumer preferences. This column reveals how a representative consumer survey in five EU countries indicates that many consumers do not miss certain goods and services they have cut down on since the COVID-19 outbreak. It concludes that fiscal policy must recognise that some firms will become obsolete in the altered post-COVID-19 environment. To achieve a swift recovery, these obsolete firms must be allowed to fail fast so that resources can be reallocated to more efficient uses. 

Olivier Coibion, Yuriy Gorodnichenko, Michael Weber, 08 September 2020

A major component of the 27 March CARES Act in the US was a one-time transfer to all qualifying adults of up to $1200, with $500 per additional child. Using a large-scale survey of US consumers, this column studies how these large transfers affected individuals' consumption, saving and labour supply decisions. Most respondents report that they primarily saved or paid down debts with their transfers, with only about 15% reporting that they mostly spent it. On average, individuals report having spent or planning to spend only around 40% of the total transfer. The payments appear to have had no meaningful effect on labour-supply decisions from these transfer payments, except for 20% of the unemployed who report that the stimulus payment made them search harder for a job.

Jiri Slacalek, 05 December 2019

Many economic models assume that households have up-to-date information. This column relaxes this assumption to see how this affects consumption at the household and aggregate level. A model that assumes that households only occasionally update their information about macroeconomic quantities better fits the micro and macro data, and can explain the fact that consumption reacts little to the announcement of a fiscal stimulus but substantially to the actual receipt of a stimulus payment.

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This conference will explore consumers' financial decision-making and the functioning of markets for financial products and services, with a focus on understanding how effective regulatory policy can protect consumers and promote effective competition. The conference will showcase cutting-edge research and bring together leading academics and policymakers to discuss consumer outcomes and implications for policy.

Keynotes will be given by John Campbell (Harvard) and Antoinette Schoar (MIT and CEPR). Other confirmed speakers to date include: Karen Croxson (FCA), Mark Egan (Harvard), Andreas Fuster (Swiss National Bank), Zanna Iscenko (FCA), Michaela Pagel (Columbia and CEPR), Daniel Paravisni (LSE and CEPR) and Tarun Ramadorai (Imperial and CEPR).

Please register your interest in attending the conference here.

Marco Di Maggio, Amir Kermani, Rodney Ramcharan, 05 October 2014

After the Crisis, unconventional monetary policy measures were adopted. A major question is whether they have succeeded in boosting aggregate demand. This column exploits adjustable rate mortgages that originated before the Crisis and featured an automatic reset of the interest rate. Low interest rates have stimulated consumption of durable goods, but the expansionary effect is partially dampened by households’ desire to deleverage voluntarily. 

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