A Boost in the Paycheck: Survey Evidence on Workers' Response to the 2011 Payroll Tax Cuts
January 2013 Number 592
JEL classification: E21, E62, E65, C83
This paper presents new survey evidence on workers' response to the 2011 payroll tax cuts. While workers intended to spend 10 to 18 percent of their tax-cut income, they reported actually spending 28 to 43 percent of the funds. This is higher than estimates from studies of recent tax cuts, and arguably a consequence of the design of the 2011 tax cuts. The shift to greater consumption than intended is largely unexplained by present-bias or unanticipated shocks, and is likely a consequence of mental accounting. We also use data from a complementary survey to understand the heterogeneous tax-cut response.