Select your language

Suggested languages for you:
Log In Start studying!
StudySmarter - The all-in-one study app.
4.8 • +11k Ratings
More than 3 Million Downloads
Free
|
|

All-in-one learning app

  • Flashcards
  • NotesNotes
  • ExplanationsExplanations
  • Study Planner
  • Textbook solutions
Start studying

Tax Multiplier

Tax Multiplier

Payday is here! Whether it's every week, two weeks, or a month, you have two decisions to make when you deposit your paycheck: spend or save. Believe it or not, this one decision you make is incredibly important when governments are determining fiscal policy actions. Saving and spending your money will have a big influence on GDP due to the tax multiplier effect. Continue reading our article to understand why these two simple decisions are pivotal for fiscal policy actions!

Tax Multiplier Definition in Economics

The tax multiplier in economics is defined as the factor by which a change in taxes will alter GDP. With this tool, the government is able to decrease (increase) taxes by the exact amount that they need GDP to rise (decline). This allows the government to make a precise tax change rather than an estimation.

Whether it's every week, two weeks, or a month, you have two decisions to make when you deposit your paycheck: spend or save. Saving and spending your money will have a big influence on GDP due to the tax multiplier effect.

A 10% decrease in taxes will not yield a 10% increase in aggregate demand. The reason for that is outlined in our paycheck example above — when you receive some transfer, you will choose to save and spend some portion of it. The portion you spend will contribute to aggregate demand; the portion you save will not contribute to aggregate demand.

But how can we determine the change in GDP after altering taxes like the ones in figure 1?

The answer is - through the tax multiplier!

Tax Multiplier calculating taxes Tax Multiplier Definition in Economics Study SmarterFig 1. - Calculating Taxes

The simple tax multiplier is another way people often refer to the tax multiplier.

You may see it referred to like both — do not get confused!

Tax Multiplier Effect

Depending on whether fiscal policy actions increase or decrease taxes will change the tax multiplier effect. Taxes and consumer spending are inversely related: increasing taxes will decrease consumer spending. Therefore, governments need to know what the current state of the economy is before altering any taxes. A recessionary period will call for lowers taxes, whereas an inflationary period will call for higher taxes.

The multiplier effect occurs when money can be spent by consumers. If more money is available to consumers, then more spending will occur — this will lead to an increase in aggregate demand. If less money is available to consumers, then less spending will occur — this will lead to a decrease in aggregate demand. Governments can utilize the multiplier effect with the tax multiplier equation to alter aggregate demand.

Tax Multiplier Increasing aggregate demand StudySmarter OriginalsFig 2. - Increasing aggregate demand

The graph above in figure 2 shows an economy in a recessionary period at P1 and Y1. A tax decrease will allow customers to spend more of their money since less of it is going to taxes. This will increase aggregate demand and allow the economy to reach equilibrium at P2 and Y2.

Tax Multiplier Equation

The tax multiplier equation is the following:

The marginal propensity to consume (MPC) is the amount a household will spend from each additional $1 added to their income. The marginal propensity to save (MPS) is the amount a household will save from each additional $1 added to their income. The formula also has a negative sign in front of the fraction since a decrease in taxes will increase spending.

The MPC and MPS will always equal 1 when added together. Per $1, any amount that you do not save will be spent, and vice versa. Therefore, MPC and MPS must equal 1 when added together since you can only spend or save part of the $1.

Marginal Propensity to Consume (MPC) is the amount a household will spend from each additional $1 added to their income.

Marginal Propensity to Save (MPS) is the amount a household will save from each additional $1 added to their income.

Tax and Spending Multiplier Relationship

The tax multiplier will increase aggregate demand by a smaller amount than the spending multiplier. This is because when a government spends money, it will spend the exact amount of money that the government agreed to — say $100 billion. In contrast, a tax cut will incentivize people to spend only a portion of the tax cut while they save the rest. This will always lead to the tax cut being "weaker" in comparison to the spending multiplier.

Learn more in our article - Expenditure Multiplier!

Tax Multiplier Example

Let's look at a tax multiplier example. Governments use the tax multiplier to determine what the change in taxes should be. Simply knowing whether to increase or decrease taxes is not sufficient. We will go over two examples.

Tax Multiplier Example: Multiplier Effects on Spending

We will have to make a few assumptions to complete an example. We will assume that the government plans to increase taxes by $50 billion, and the MPC and MPS is .8 and .2 respectively. Remember, they both have to add up to 1!

What does the answer tell us? When the government raises taxes by $50 billion, then the spending will go down by $200 billion given our tax multiplier. This brief example provides the government with very important information.

This example shows that governments need to carefully alter taxes to get an economy out of an inflationary or recessionary period!

Tax Multiplier Example: Calculating for a specific Tax Change

We went over a brief example of how spending is affected by a change in taxes. Now, we will look at a more practical example of how governments may use the tax multiplier to address a specific economic issue.

We will have to make a few assumptions to complete this example. We will assume that the economy is in a recession and needs to increase spending by $40 billion. The MPC and MPS is .8 and .2 respectively.

How should the government change its taxes to address the recession?

What does this mean? If the government wants to increase spending by $40 billion, then the government needs to decrease taxes by $10 billion. Intuitively, this makes sense — a decrease in taxes should stimulate the economy and incentivize people to spend more.


Tax multiplier - Key takeaways

  • The tax multiplier is the factor by which a change in taxes will alter GDP.
  • The multiplier effect occurs when consumers can spend part of their money in the economy.
  • Taxes and consumer spending are inversely related — an increase in taxes will decrease consumer spending.
  • Tax multiplier = –MPC/MPS
  • Marginal Propensity to Consume and Marginal Propensity to Save will always add up to 1.

Frequently Asked Questions about Tax Multiplier

The tax multiplier is the factor by which a change in taxes will alter GDP.

The tax multiplier is calculated with the following equation: –MPC/MPS

The tax multiplier is less effective because a tax cut will incentivize people to spend only a portion of the tax cut. This does not happen with government spending. This will always lead to the tax cut being "weaker" in comparison to a direct transfer of money.

The tax multiplier formula is the following: –MPC/MPS

The different types of multipliers are money multiplier, spending multiplier, and tax multiplier.

Final Tax Multiplier Quiz

Question

What is a tax multiplier?

Show answer

Answer

The tax multiplier is the factor by which a change in taxes will alter GDP.

Show question

Question

How are taxes and government spending related?

Show answer

Answer

Taxes and government spending are inversely related.

Show question

Question

How should taxes be changed during a recession?

Show answer

Answer

Taxes should be lowered.

Show question

Question

How should taxes be changed during an inflationary period?

Show answer

Answer

Taxes should be increased.

Show question

Question

What is the tax multiplier formula?

Show answer

Answer

–MPC/MPS

Show question

Question

Why is the tax multiplier less effective than the spending multiplier?

Show answer

Answer

A tax cut will make people spend only a part of the tax cut. 

Show question

Question

What does the marginal propensity to save and consume equal when added together?

Show answer

Answer

1

Show question

Question

Which institution changes taxes?

Show answer

Answer

The Government

Show question

Question

If the MPC is .6 and taxes will be increased by $30 billion, how will GDP be affected?

Show answer

Answer

A decrease of $45 billion

Show question

Question

If the MPC is .7 and taxes will be increased by $60 billion, how will GDP be affected?

Show answer

Answer

An increase of $140 billion

Show question

Question

If the MPC is .5 and taxes will decrease by $100 billion, how will GDP be affected?

Show answer

Answer

Increase of $100 billion

Show question

Question

How should a government change taxes if MPC is .6 and their GDP goal is increasing to $100 billion?

Show answer

Answer

Decrease taxes by $66 billion

Show question

Question

How should a government change taxes if MPC is .8 and their GDP goal is increasing to $50 billion?

Show answer

Answer

Decrease taxes by $12.5 billion

Show question

Question

How should a government change taxes if MPC is .9 and their GDP goal is increasing to $20 billion?

Show answer

Answer

Decrease taxes by $2.2 billion

Show question

Question

How should a government change taxes if MPC is .8 and their GDP goal is decreasing to $50 billion?


Show answer

Answer

Increase taxes by $12.5 billion

Show question

Question

The ________ is defined as the factor by which a change in taxes will alter GDP.

Show answer

Answer

Tax multiplier

Show question

Question

Taxes and consumer spending are ______ related.

Show answer

Answer

Inversely

Show question

Question

True or False: The tax multiplier is stronger than the spending multiplier.

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

True or False: A tax decrease will push aggregate demand to the left.

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

True or False: A tax increase will push aggregate demand to the left.

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

Explain the formula for the tax multiplier.

Show answer

Answer

-MPC/MPS

Show question

Question

If a government wants to increase consumer spending, it should ______ taxes.

Show answer

Answer

Decrease

Show question

Question

True or False: You can find the tax multiplier without MPS and MPC.

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

Explain why a tax cut is weaker government spending.

Show answer

Answer

A tax cut will incentivize people to spend only a portion of the tax cut while they save the rest. This does not occur with government spending.

Show question

Question

True or False: Fiscal policy actions can change the tax multiplier.

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

If the government decides to increase government spending, how would this affect the tax multiplier and aggregate demand?

Show answer

Answer

The tax multiplier would increase aggregate demand.

Show question

Question

If the government decides to decrease government spending, how would this affect aggregate demand?

Show answer

Answer

Aggregate demand would decrease.

Show question

Question

True or False: a 15% decrease in taxes will equal a 15% increase in consumer spending.

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

True or False: a 20% decrease in taxes will increase consumer spending by some amount.

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

What should the government do before altering the tax code?

Show answer

Answer

Determine if the state economy is in a recessionary or inflationary gap.

Show question

Question

Let's say the economy is in an inflationary period, the government should...

Show answer

Answer

Increase taxes

Show question

Question

Let's say the economy is in a recessionary period, the government should...

Show answer

Answer

Decrease taxes

Show question

Question

Why is there a negative sign in front of the tax multiplier equation?

Show answer

Answer

Taxes and consumer spending are inversely related

Show question

Question

True or False: The government can use the tax multiplier to determine the change in GDP.

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

True or False: The government should not use the tax multiplier when altering the tax code.

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

60%

of the users don't pass the Tax Multiplier quiz! Will you pass the quiz?

Start Quiz

Discover the right content for your subjects

No need to cheat if you have everything you need to succeed! Packed into one app!

Study Plan

Be perfectly prepared on time with an individual plan.

Quizzes

Test your knowledge with gamified quizzes.

Flashcards

Create and find flashcards in record time.

Notes

Create beautiful notes faster than ever before.

Study Sets

Have all your study materials in one place.

Documents

Upload unlimited documents and save them online.

Study Analytics

Identify your study strength and weaknesses.

Weekly Goals

Set individual study goals and earn points reaching them.

Smart Reminders

Stop procrastinating with our study reminders.

Rewards

Earn points, unlock badges and level up while studying.

Magic Marker

Create flashcards in notes completely automatically.

Smart Formatting

Create the most beautiful study materials using our templates.

Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.