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A Theory of the Consumption Function, with and without Liquidity Constraints

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  • Christopher D. Carroll

Abstract

This paper argues that the modern stochastic consumption model, in which impatient consumers face uninsurable labor income risk, matches Milton Friedman's (1957) original description of the Permanent Income Hypothesis much better than the perfect foresight or certainty equivalent models did. The model can explain the high marginal propensity to consume, the high discount rate on future income, and the important role for precautionary behavior that were all part of Friedman's original framework. The paper also explains the relationship of these questions to the Euler equation literature, and argues that the effects of precautionary saving and liquidity constraints are often virtually indistinguishable.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.15.3.23
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 15 (2001)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Pages: 23-45

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:15:y:2001:i:3:p:23-45

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.15.3.23
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  1. Todd W Allen & Christopher D Carroll, 2001. "Individual Learning About Consumption," Economics Working Paper Archive 444, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  2. Carol C. Bertaut & Michael Haliassos, 1996. "Precautionary portfolio behavior from a life-cycle perspective," International Finance Discussion Papers 542, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Campbell, John Y & Deaton, Angus, 1989. "Why Is Consumption So Smooth?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 357-73, July.
  4. Campbell, John Y. & Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1991. "The response of consumption to income : A cross-country investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 723-756, May.
  5. Christopher D. Carroll, 1996. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 5788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "The Buffer-Stock Theory of Saving: Some Macroeconomic Evidence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 61-156.
  7. repec:cup:macdyn:v:5:y:2001:i:2:p:255-71 is not listed on IDEAS
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