Financial woes grow worse during pandemic for American families

The economic challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic have grown worse since the spring for many American families, with an increasing number reporting that they have trouble paying bills, according to a new RAND Corporation ...

New economic tracker finds flaws in U.S. recovery plan

Results from a new economic tracker that looks at real-time statistics on consumer spending, jobs, and business revenue suggest that the government's traditional recovery strategies to reverse the downturn triggered by the ...

Can government stimulus programs boost consumer spending?

The world has been experiencing an unprecedented economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A significant number of economic activities have shut down, causing contractions in global output, as well as the loss of businesses ...

A tool to provide policymakers with real-time economic data

An interactive tool that uses real-time data to measure the depth of the economic downturn and give evidence of any recovery was launched today by Opportunity Insights, a Harvard-based institute of social scientists and policy ...

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Consumption (economics)

Consumption is a common concept in economics, and gives rise to derived concepts such as consumer debt. Generally consumption is defined by opposition to production. But the precise definition can vary because different schools of economists define production quite differently. According to some economists, only the final purchase of goods and services constitutes consumption, and every other commercial activity is some form of production. Other economists define consumption much more broadly, as the aggregate of all economic activity that does not entail the design, production and marketing of goods and services (e.g. "the selection, adoption, use, disposal and recycling of goods and services").

Likewise, consumption can be measured by a variety of different metrics such as energy in energy economics . The total consumer spending in an economy is generally calculated using the consumption function, a metric devised by John Maynard Keynes, which simply takes the aggregate disposable income and multiplies it by a "marginal propensity to consume". This metric essentially defines consumption as the part of disposable income that does not go into savings. But disposable income in turn can be defined in a number of ways - e.g. to include borrowed funds or expenditures from savings.

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