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President Donald Trump and Congress are once again on the verge of a partial federal government shutdown. If they fail to reach an agreement, it would be the third shutdown in two years.

美国总统唐纳德特朗普和国会再次濒临部分联邦政府关门的边缘。如果他们不能达成协议,这将是两年内的第三次关闭。

The immediate and most visible impact of a shutdown is in the government’s day-to-day operations. Some departments and offices, like the Internal Revenue Service, would be closed, and nonessential federal employees across the government would stay home.

直接和最明显的影响是在政府的日常运营。一些部门和办公室,比如美国国税局(Internal Revenue Service)将关闭,政府的非必要联邦雇员将回家待业。

But beyond the individual workers and families affected, could a short or lengthy shutdown affect the broader U.S. economy as well?

但是,除了个别工人和的家庭受影响之外,短暂/长期的政府关门是否会更广泛地影响到美国经济呢?

Constantine Yannelis, a business professor at New York University, and I examined data from the 2013 government shutdownto better understand its impact.

纽约大学商学教授康斯坦丁 亚内利斯(Constantine Yannelis)和我分析了2013年政府关门的数据,以便更好地理解它的影响。(美国政府关门US government shutdown,预算拨款案无法批准,美国政府没钱可花。预算拨款权力掌握在美国国会手中,国会不通过预算案,就意味着政府不能花钱,很多需要花钱的工程无法继续,员工的工资也将难以支付。)

An economic speed bump

经济减速

While a shutdown affects the economy in a number of ways – from delaying business permits and visas to reducing service hours at innumerable agencies – a primary channel through which a shutdown affects the economy is through withheld pay from federal employees who don’t receive their paychecks.

虽然政府关门在许多方面影响着经济——从营业许可和签证的推迟到无数机构服务时间的减少——但其影响经济的一个主要渠道是通过扣发联邦雇员的工资,他们没有拿到工资支票。

Since consumer spending makes up about 70 percent of economic activity in the United States, withholding pay from even some government workers could introduce a significant economic speed bump in the short run.

由于消费者支出约占美国经济活动的70%,即使是一些政府工作人员工资被扣,也可能在短期内给经济带来重大减速。

And that’s exactly what we saw in 2013.

这正是我们在2013年看到的。

Similar to the situation today, a partisan standoff in Congress led to a partial shutdown of the government that lasted a little over two weeks beginning on Oct. 1 of that year.
Well over a million federal employees were affected and didn’t receive a paycheck during the shutdown. Some were furloughed – sent home and told not to do anything related to their job. Those deemed “essential” or “exempted” – such as security personnel screening passengers at airports or border patrol agents – were required to continue working at their jobs, although they were not receiving paychecks. The government eventually paid both groups the money owed them, regardless of whether they worked, after Democrats and Republicans reached an agreement on Oct. 16.

与今天的情况类似,国会的党派对峙导致政府部分关门,从当年10月1日开始持续了两周多。
100多万联邦雇员受到影响在关门期间没有领到工资。有些人被暂时遣送回家,并被告知不许做任何与其工作有关的事情。那些被视为“必要”或“豁免”的人-例如机场检查乘客的安全人员或边境巡逻人员-被要求继续工作,尽管他们没有领到工资。10月16日,民主党和共和党达成协议后,政府最终向他们支付了欠下的钱,不管他们是否工作过。

My colleague Yannelis and I sought to understand how households responded by tracking how they behaved in the days leading up to, during and following the shutdown using detailed financial data.
We obtained this anonymized data from a personal finance website where people track their income, expenses, savings and debt. Using the paycheck transaction descriptions, we identified over 60,000 households that contained employees of federal agencies affected by the shutdown. These affected employees included both those who were asked to work without pay and those who were furloughed.

我和同事亚内利斯(Yannelis)试图通过使用详细的财务数据,追踪家庭在政府关门前中后期的行为来了解他们的反应。
我们从个人理财网站上获得了这些匿名数据,人们可以在这个网站上追踪自己的收入、支出、储蓄和债务。根据工资交易描述,我们确定了6万多户家庭,其中包括受政府关门影响的联邦机构雇员。包括那些被要求无偿工作的员工和那些被迫休假的员工。

As a comparison group, we also identified over 90,000 households with a member who worked for a state government. That would likely mean they have fairly similar levels of education, experience and financial security, yet their paychecks were unaffected by the shutdown.

作为一个比较小组,我们还确定了90000多户家庭,每个家庭都有成员在州政府工作。这可能意味着他们的教育、经验和财务保障水平相似,但他们的薪酬没有受到政府关门的影响。(美国联邦政府雇员亦称“文官”、“联邦政府公务员”。在美国联邦行政机构中执行公务的,由联邦人事管理总署根据联邦公务员法进行管理的国家公职人员。国会的雇员、司法部门的法官、州和地方政府的公职人员不在此列。按照职务性质和产生方式的不同,分为政治任命官员和职业文官两大类,前者即政务官,后者是业务类常任文官,受联邦公务员制度的调节和保护。)

Short-term impact on spending
Our study led to two primary findings.

对支出的短期影响
我们的研究有两个主要发现。

First, we found that the shutdown led to an immediate decline in average household spending of almost 10 percent. Surprisingly, despite the fact that most federal workers have stable jobs and income sources, they were quick to cut spending on pretty much everything, from restaurants to clothing to electronics, just days after their pay was delayed.
首先,我们发现政府关门导致平均家庭支出立即下降近10%。令人惊讶的是,尽管大多数联邦工作人员有稳定的工作和收入来源,但在工资拖欠几天后就迅速削减了几乎所有支出,从餐馆、服装到电子产品。

While households with less money in the bank cut their spending by larger amounts, even those with significant resources and easy access to credit reduced their expenditures.

虽然银行存款较少的家庭削减开支的幅度更大,但即使是那些拥有大量资源和容易获得信贷的家庭也减少了开支。

Second, households with a member who was furloughed and required to stay home from work slashed their spending more dramatically – by 15 percent to 20 percent, or almost twice as much as the average of those affected. This larger decline reflected the fact that these households suddenly had a lot more time on their hands. Rather than going out to eat or paying for child care for example, they were able to spend more time cooking and watching their own children.

其次,家庭成员因休假而被迫在家待业不上班的则大幅削减开支——从15%削减到20%,几乎是受影响家庭平均值的两倍。这种大幅度的下降反映了这样一个事实,即这些家庭突然有了更多的空闲时间。例如,他们可以花更多的时间做饭和照看自己的孩子,而不是出去吃饭或支付育儿费用。

This behavior is what tends to spread the economic effects of a shutdown that affects a slice of the population to a wider group of businesses and individuals behind Washington, D.C. And in regions with substantial numbers of federal workers, these declines in spending can greatly hurt the health of the local economy in the short run.

这种行为往往会将政府关门的经济影响扩散到华盛顿特区背后更多的企业和个人,以及联邦政府工作人员众多的地区,支出的下降可能会在短期内极大损害当地经济的健康。

Long-term impact?

那么长期影响呢?

Whether or not a shutdown has a longer-term economic impact depends on whether employees are paid their foregone wages after its conclusion – and how long the shutdown lasts.

政府关门是否会对经济产生长期影响,取决于结束后员工是否能拿到被拖欠的工资,以及关门会持续多久。

In 2013, the government repaid even furloughed workers what they would have earned had the shutdown not happened.
This repayment, essentially increasing the size of their first post-shutdown paychecks, had significant and immediate effects on household spending. A sudden spike in spending occurred in the days after the paychecks were disbursed, largely erasing some of the most dramatic declines in spending during the previous two weeks.

这笔还款对家庭支出产生了重大而直接的影响,实质上是增加了他们在政府关门后第一张工资支票的数额。在发放工资后的几天内,支出突然出现了飙升,在很大程度上抵消了前两周支出大幅度的降低。

The government has usually paid all its employees, “essential” or not, back pay after other past shutdowns, such as those in the 1990s. While Congress is legally required to pay federal employees who worked during the shutdown, there’s no law requiring the same treatment for nonessential workers.

过去政府通常会在关门后,比如上世纪90年代,支付给所有员工“必要的”或“非必要的”欠薪。虽然国会在法律上被要求向于政府关门期间工作的联邦雇员支付薪酬,但没有法律要求对非必要工作人员给予同样的待遇。

In addition, the longer the shutdown lasts, the worse its impact. Households might deplete savings or hit their credit card limits as the impasse stretches day after day, giving them additional time to adjust their spending in ways that they could not do with only a few days’ notice. For instance, in 2013, bills for health insurance or tuition payments were largely unaffected. Had that shutdown persisted, households may have started to cut back here as well.

此外,政府关门持续的时间越长,影响就越严重。随着僵局日复一日地扩大,美国家庭可能会耗尽储蓄或触及信用卡额度,来给他们更多时间调整支出,而这在仅仅几天提前通知下无法做到。例如在2013年医疗保险或学费支付账单基本未受影响。如果政府关门持续下去,美国家庭可能会开始削减开支。

So if Congress refuses to offer furloughed workers back pay and the shutdown lasts weeks rather than days, the economic impact could be severe.

因此,如果国会拒绝给带薪休假的工人补发工资,政府关门将持续数周而非数天,经济影响可能会非常严重。

However, if a shutdown is resolved in a relatively short amount of time, with workers being paid back their regular income, the damage would likely be fairly contained.

然而,如果政府关门问题在相对较短的时间内得到解决,工人们将得到正常收入的补偿,那么损失可能会得到合理控制。