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Did Household Consumption Become More Volatile?

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  • Olga Gorbachev

Abstract

I show that after accounting for predictable variation arising from movements in real interest rates, preferences and income shocks, liquidity constraints and measurement errors, volatility of household consumption in the US increased by 25 percent between 1970 and 2004. The increase was lower than that of volatility of family income. Nonwhite and those with less than 13 years of education, for whom there was no differential increase in income volatility, experienced a significantly larger increase in volatility of household consumption. Substantial differences in wealth and access to credit markets point to the main reason for this divide. JEL: D12, D14, E21, J15

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 101 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5 (August)
Pages: 2248-70

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:5:p:2248-70

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  19. Robert J. Gordon & Ian Dew-Becker, 2008. "Controversies about the Rise of American Inequality: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 13982, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Giorgio E. Primiceri & Thijs van Rens, 2006. "Heterogeneous life-cycle profiles, income risk and consumption inequality," Economics Working Papers 945, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Aug 2008.
  2. Hai, Rong & Krueger, Dirk & Postlewaite, Andrew, 2013. "On the Welfare Cost of Consumption Fluctuations in the Presence of Memorable Goods," CEPR Discussion Papers 9623, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. James Feigenbaum & Geng Li, 2011. "Household income uncertainties over three decades," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-25, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Benjamin J. Keys, 2010. "The credit market consequences of job displacement," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2010-24, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. O’Flaherty, Brendan, 2012. "Individual homelessness: Entries, exits, and policy," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 77-100.
  6. Steven J. Davis & James A. Kahn, 2008. "Interpreting the Great Moderation: Changes in the Volatility of Economic Activity at the Macro and Micro Levels," NBER Working Papers 14048, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Gabriela Prelipcean & Mircea Boscoianu, 2014. "Stochastic Dynamic Model on the Consumption – Saving Decision for Adjusting Products and Services Supply According with Consumers` Attainability," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 16(35), pages 201, February.
  8. Claudia M. Buch, 2008. "The Great Risk Shift? Income Volatility in an International Perspective," CESifo Working Paper Series 2465, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Olga Gorbachev & Keshav Dogra, 2009. "Evolution of Consumption Volatility for the Liquidity Constrained Households over 1983 to 2004," ESE Discussion Papers 193, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
  10. Rong Hai & Andrew Postlewaite & Dirk Krueger, 2013. "On the Welfare Cost of Consumption Fluctuations in the Presence of Memorable Goods, Second Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 14-012, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 15 Apr 2014.
  11. Hacker, Jacob S. & Huber, Gregory Alain & Nichols, Austin & Rehm, Philipp & Schlesinger, Mark & Valletta, Robert G. & Craig, Stuart, 2012. "The Economic Security Index: A New Measure for Research and Policy Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 6946, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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