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Impacts of Cash Transfers on Consumption during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Japanese Special Cash Payment (Japanese)

Takashi Unayama (), Norihiro Komura and Takahiro Hattori

Discussion Papers (Japanese) from Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI)

Abstract: We estimate the marginal propensity to consume (MPC) for households benefiting from the large cash transfers in the form of the Special Cash Payment in Japan provided during the COVID-19 pandemic. The MPC is identified by exploiting differences in the timing of their payments across municipalities. The estimated MPC is around 10 percent, which is comparable in magnitude to the MPCs in previous studies, suggesting that even during the COVID-19 pandemic the impact of cash transfers on household consumption did not differ from that under normal times. In addition, consumption was classified based on infection risk for COVID-19, and the MPCs for those subcategories are estimated separately. We find that consumers did not increase spending on "face-to-face services," which would increase infection risk, while increasing spending on "goods/services purchased at home" and "goods/services purchased at stores." Cash transfers did not induce consumers to increase consumption that involved higher infection risk.

Pages: 33 pages
Date: 2021-04
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea
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