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Smooth it Like the 'Joneses'? Estimating Peer-Group Effects in Intertemporal Consumption Choice

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  • Jürgen Maurer
  • André Meier

Abstract

Recent theoretical contributions have suggested peer-group effects as a potential explanation for several puzzles in macroeconomics but their empirical relevance for intertemporal consumption choice is an open question. We derive an extension of the standard life-cycle model that allows for consumption externalities. In this framework, we propose a social multiplier approach to distinguish true externalities from merely correlated effects. Estimating our model using US panel data, we find strong predictable co-movement of household consumption within peer groups. Although much of this co-movement reflects correlated effects only, there is statistically significant evidence for moderate consumption externalities across several plausible peer-group specifications. Copyright � 2008 The Author(s).

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 118 (2008)
Issue (Month): 527 (03)
Pages: 454-476

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:118:y:2008:i:527:p:454-476

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Benjamin Volland, 2013. "On the intergenerational transmission of preferences," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 217-249, October.
  2. Tsoukis, Christopher & Tournemaine, Frederic, 2010. "Status in a canonical macro model: labour supply, growth, and inequality," MPRA Paper 26480, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Matteo Barigozzi & Biagio Speciale, 2009. "Immigrant’s legal status, permanence in the destination country and the distribution of consumption expenditure," Working Papers ECARES 2009_019, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  4. Alessie, R.J.M. & Teppa, F., 2002. "Saving and Habit Formation: Evidence from Dutch Panel Data," Discussion Paper 2002-62, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  5. Lloyd-Braga, Teresa & Modesto, Leonor, 2012. "Can Taxes Stabilize the Economy in the Presence of Consumption Externalities?," IZA Discussion Papers 6876, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Eckerstorfer, Paul & Wendner, Ronald, 2013. "Asymmetric and Non-atmospheric Consumption Externalities, and Efficient Consumption Taxation," MPRA Paper 45521, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Casado, Jose Maria & Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco & Labeaga, Jose Maria & Sutthiphisal, Dhanoos, 2012. "Envy and habits: Panel data estimates of interdependent preferences," MERIT Working Papers 054, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  8. Tournemaine, Frederic & Tsoukis, Christopher, 2010. "Gain versus pain from status and ambition: Effects on growth and inequality," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 286-294, April.
  9. Airaudo, Marco, 2013. "Monetary policy, stock prices, and consumption externalities," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(3), pages 537-541.
  10. Tournemaine, frederic & Tsoukis, Chris, 2008. "Status, endogenous reference standards, and the growth-inequality relation: A note," MPRA Paper 10420, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Paolo Gelain & Kevin J. Lansing, 2013. "House prices, expectations, and time-varying fundamentals," Working Paper 2013/05, Norges Bank.
  12. Heffetz, Ori, 2012. "Who sees what? Demographics and the visibility of consumer expenditures," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 801-818.

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