Jeff Larrimore, Richard V. Burkhauser, Philip Armou. 2013. Accounting for income changes over the great recession (2007-2010) relative to previous recessions, the importance of taxes and transfers. Working Paper 19699. National Bureau of Economic Research
Abstract:With data from the March CPS and using shift-share analysis, we analyze the factors that account for changes in post-tax post-transfer income during each of the past four recessions. What distinguishes the Great Recession is that drops in employment rather than wage earnings drove income declines. In addition, taxes and transfers played a much greater role in offsetting market income losses —a result largely missed in analyses that do not account for taxes and transfers. This is particularly so among the bottom quintile of the distribution where lower and increased transfers offset more than one-half of the market income declines.
摘要：运用来自the March CPS的数据和偏离—份额分析法，我们分析了影响过去四次衰退中每一次税后和转移支付后收入变化的因素。大萧条不同于其他衰退的是就业的下降而不是工资驱动的收入的下降，此外，税收和转移支付在补偿市场收入损失上起了很大作用—这一结果常常被不考虑税收和转移支付的分析遗漏掉，这一点在底部五分位数分布亦即虽然较少但却正在增加的转移支付补偿了市场收入下降的大半部分之时更是如此。
数据来源：the March CPS
Conclusions:Using a shift-share analysis to compare the factors underlying income trends in each of the past four recessions, we show that the falling real earnings of those who remained employed played a relatively minor role in median post-tax household income declines during the Great Recession. Instead, employment declines primarily drove these income declines, which would have been much greater, except for the unprecedented role of public tax and both in-cash and in-kind transfer policies. Because previous decomposition studies have not included the role of either tax policies or in-kind transfers, they will greatly understate the increasing role that government policies have played in mitigating median post-tax household income declines and understate the resources that were available to the bottom half of the distribution of Americans over the Great Recession.
However something that cannot be drawn from our analysis is whether this unprecedented use of tax and in-cash and in-kind benefits indirectly discouraged work over the period. We cannot rule out the possibility that these policies lengthened unemployment spells and thus degraded labor-market skills, so that these short-term increases in benefits during the first three years of the Great Recession made a return to work and wage earnings less likely. Furthermore, both tax reductions and increased transfers come at the cost of increased public debt, which is not included in our analysis since it does not impact short-term economic resources.
What can be concluded is that the unprecedented importance of the direct effects of temporary tax and transfer policies for supporting median and bottom-quintile income during the recession means that their withdrawal—as policymakers shift their focus to deficit reduction and the scaling down of stimulus measures—is likely to result in short-term headwinds toward achieving growth in post-tax median income. Hence growth in post-tax median income over the remainder of the current business cycle will depend on the ability of currently under- or nonemployed individuals to find full-time jobs in a growing economy as we scale back these temporary public-transfer programs which limited median income declines over the Great Recession.