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An Integrated Model of Household Flow-of-Funds Allocations


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  • Backus, David
  • Purvis, Douglas


This paper extends the multivariate stock-adjustment model commonly used in empirical studies of portfolio behavior in order to analyze the complete set of flow allocation decisions made by households (including consumption, expenditures on durables and houses, and various financial aggregates). The model is then confronted with quarterly household sector data from the United States Flow of Funds Accounts for the period 1954 to 1975. Besides presenting OLS estimates, we test parameter restrictions suggested by our theoretical structure; the data supports the view that the explanatory power of the model is enhanced by allowing non-zero cross-effects on interest rates and lagged stocks, and by the integration of real and financial decisions. While these results are encouraging, the specification requires a large number of independent variables. This leads, in many cases, to rather poor determination of a number of coefficients. We therefore combine with the data some inexact subjective information about the coefficients, using the Theil-Goldberger mixed estimation technique. The OLS estimates and the mixed estimates are then compared by examining the forecasting accuracy of the model in- and out-of-sample. Overall the model performs very well, and the simulation results confirm that inclusion of prior information is of considerable value for forecasting purposes. Since the publication of William Brainard and James Tobin's pioneering paper, "Pitfalls in Financial Model Building," the multivariate stock-adjustment model has been widely used to study dynamic portfolio adjustment. The framework which they developed is especially useful for analyzing a given sector's allocation of a predetermined aggregate among competing alternatives; when dealing with the household sector most applications (including their own) have specified wealth as a predetermined aggregate which, in turn, was allocated to various assets and liabilities. The purpose of the present paper is

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Article provided by Blackwell Publishing in its journal Journal of Money, Credit and Banking.

Volume (Year): 12 (1980)
Issue (Month): 2 (Special Issue May)
Pages: 400-421

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Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:12:y:1980:i:2:p:400-421

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Cited by:
  1. R. MacDonald & Hassan Molana, 2000. "Does Consumption Deviate from the Permanent Income Path? An Empirical Study of UK Data," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 107, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
  2. Christopher J. Green & Victor Murinde, 2003. "Flow of funds: implications for research on financial sector development and the real economy," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(8), pages 1015-1036.
  3. Tony Hall & Jan Jacobs & Adrian Pagan, . "Macro-Econometric System Modelling @75," NCER Working Paper Series 95, National Centre for Econometric Research.
  4. John Duca & John Muellbauer, 2013. "Tobin lives: integrating evolving credit market architecture into flow of funds based macro-models," Working Papers 1307, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  5. Kim Kowalewski & Gary Smith, 1979. "The Spending Behavior of Wealth- and Liquidity-Constrained Consumers," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 536, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Carl E. Walsh, 1981. "Measurement Error and the Flow of Funds Accounts: Estimates of HouseholdAsset Demand Equations," NBER Working Papers 0732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.


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