Asymmetric Consumption Response of Households to Positive and Negative Anticipated Cash Flows
We use account-level data to document that households respond differently to expected transitory cash receipts than to cash payments. Consumers increase consumption spending when they receive tax refunds; however, they do not reduce their spending when they make expected tax payments. The central asymmetry in response and its pattern across liquidity and income levels is consistent with the behavior of rational consumers with liquidity constraints, but this canonical model cannot explain the lack of spending days before arrival of a refund or the lack of spending response to information about taxes around filing.
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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25086