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How important is the stock market effect on consumption?

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  • Sydney Ludvigson
  • Charles Steindel

Abstract

Many argue that the astonishing growth in Americans' stock portfolios in the 1990s has been a major force behind the growth of consumer spending. This article reviews the relationship between stock market movements and consumption. Using various econometric techniques and specifications, the authors find that the propensity to consume out of aggregate household wealth has exhibited instability over the postwar period. They also show that the dynamic response of consumption growth to an unexpected change in wealth is extremely short-lived, implying that forecasts of consumption growth one or more quarters ahead are not typically improved by accounting for changes in existing wealth. Finally, the impact effect of a wealth shock on consumption growth, while statistically positive, is found to be uncertain. Although recent market gains have provided support for consumer spending, the authors' findings are too limited to encourage reliance on estimates of the stock market effect in macroeconomic forecasts.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its journal Economic Policy Review.

Volume (Year): (1999)
Issue (Month): Jul ()
Pages: 29-51

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednep:y:1999:i:jul:p:29-51:n:v.5no.2

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Keywords: Stock market ; Consumption (Economics);

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  1. Campbell, J.Y. & Perron, P., 1991. "Pitfalls and Opportunities: What Macroeconomics should know about unit roots," Papers 360, Princeton, Department of Economics - Econometric Research Program.
  2. Johansen, Soren, 1991. "Estimation and Hypothesis Testing of Cointegration Vectors in Gaussian Vector Autoregressive Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1551-80, November.
  3. Martha Starr-McCluer, 1998. "Stock market wealth and consumer spending," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1998-20, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 1997. "Monetary policy rules and macroeconomic stability: Evidence and some theory," Economics Working Papers 350, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 1999.
  5. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Gali, Jordi, 1990. "Finite horizons, life-cycle savings, and time-series evidence on consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 433-452, December.
  7. Charles Steindel, 1981. "The determinants of private saving," Monograph, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), number 1981tdop.
  8. Mankiw, N.G. & Zeldes, S.P., 1990. "The Consumption Of Stockholders And Non-Stockholders," Weiss Center Working Papers 23-90, Wharton School - Weiss Center for International Financial Research.
  9. Flavin, Marjorie A, 1981. "The Adjustment of Consumption to Changing Expectations about Future Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 974-1009, October.
  10. Alan S. Blinder & Angus Deaton, 1985. "The Time Series Consumption Function Revisited," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 16(2), pages 465-521.
  11. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Consumption, Income and Interest Rates: Reinterpreting the Time Series Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 185-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Modigliani, Franco & Tarantelli, E, 1975. "The Consumption Function in a Developing Economy and the Italian Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 825-42, December.
  13. Johansen, Soren, 1988. "Statistical analysis of cointegration vectors," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 231-254.
  14. Charles Steindel, 1992. "Changes in the U.S. cycle: shifts in capital spending and balance sheet changes," Research Paper 9224, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  15. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-87, December.
  16. Mishkin, Frederic S, 1976. "Illiquidity, Consumer Durable Expenditure, and Monetary Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(4), pages 642-54, September.
  17. Phillips, Peter C B & Ouliaris, S, 1990. "Asymptotic Properties of Residual Based Tests for Cointegration," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 165-93, January.
  18. Poterba, J.M. & Samwick, A.A., 1996. "Stock Ownership Patterns, Stock Market Fluctuations, and Consumption," Working papers 96-2, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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