Many households received income tax rebates in 2001 of $300 or $600. These rebates
represented advance payments of the tax cut from the new 10 percent tax bracket.
Based on a survey of a representative sample of households, this paper finds that
only 22 percent of households receiving the rebate would spent it. Instead, they
would either save it or use it to pay off debt. This very low rate of spending represents
a striking break with past behavior, which would have suggested a much higher rate
of spending. The low spending rate implies that the tax rebate provided a very limited
stimulus to aggregate demand.
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