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Wage shocks and consumption variability in Mexico during the 1990s

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  • Attanasio, Orazio P.
  • Szekely, Miguel

Abstract

This paper presents evidence on the relationship between economic shocks to relative male wages and changes in household consumption in Mexico during the 1990s, which is a period characterized by high volatility. In addition to performing this type of analysis for Mexico for the first time, the paper makes two main contributions. The first is the use of alternative data sources to construct instrumental variables for wages. The second is to examine differences across four consumption categories: non-durable goods, durable goods, education and health. Our results for non-durable goods consumption reject the hypothesis that Mexican households are able to insure idiosyncratic risk. For the comparisons across consumption categories, the conclusion is that households in Mexico tend to react to temporary shocks by contracting the consumption of goods that represent longer-run investment in human capital, which makes them more vulnerable in the future.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 73 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 1-25

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:73:y:2004:i:1:p:1-25

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References

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  1. Townsend, R.M., 1991. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 91-3, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  2. Miguel Székely & Nancy Birdsall & Jere R. Behrman, 2000. "Economics Reform and Wage Differentials in Latin America," IDB Publications 6476, Inter-American Development Bank.
  3. Jacoby, Hanan G & Skoufias, Emmanuel, 1997. "Risk, Financial Markets, and Human Capital in a Developing Country," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 311-35, July.
  4. Tullio Jappelli & Luigi Pistaferri, 2000. "Intertemporal Choice and Consumption Mobility," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0118, Econometric Society.
  5. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1993. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 4328, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1997. "Consumption, inequality and income uncertainty," IFS Working Papers W97/15, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  7. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 1997. "Are the poor less well-insured? Evidence on vulnerability to income risk in rural China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1863, The World Bank.
  8. Orazio P. Attanasio & Tullio Jappelli, 2001. "Intertemporal Choice And The Cross-Sectional Variance Of Marginal Utility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 13-27, February.
  9. Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley, 2000. "Shocks, Stocks and Socks: Consumption Smoothing and the Replacement of Durables During an Unemployment Spell," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0386, Econometric Society.
  10. Eduardo Fernández-Arias & Ricardo Hausmann, 2000. "The Redesign of the International Financial Architecture from a Latin American Perspective: Who Pays the Bill?," Research Department Publications 4245, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  11. Orazio Attanasio & Gabriella Berloffa & Richard Blundell & Stephen Redding, 2002. "From wages to consumption inequality: tracking shocks," IFS Working Papers W02/20, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  12. Attanasio, Orazio & Davis, Steven J, 1996. "Relative Wage Movements and the Distribution of Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1227-62, December.
  13. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1993. "Credit Market Constraints, Consumption Smoothing, and the Accumulation of Durable Production Assets in Low-Income Countries: Investment in Bullocks in India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 223-44, April.
  14. repec:fth:inadeb:429 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Cochrane, John H, 1991. "A Simple Test of Consumption Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 957-76, October.
  16. Mace, Barbara J, 1991. "Full Insurance in the Presence of Aggregate Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 928-56, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Kazianga, Harounan & Udry, Christopher, 2006. "Consumption smoothing? Livestock, insurance and drought in rural Burkina Faso," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 413-446, April.
  2. TAMURA Sakuya & SAWADA Yasuyuki, 2009. "Consumption Insurance against Unforeseen Epidemics:The Case of Avian Influenza in Vietnam," Discussion papers 09023, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  3. Skoufias, Emmanual & Parker, Susan W., 2002. "Labor market shocks and their impacts on work and schooling," FCND briefs 129, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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