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Credit Constraints, Learning and Aggregate Consumption Volatility

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  • Daniel Tortorice

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Brandeis University)

Abstract

This paper documents three empirical facts. First, the volatility of consumption growth relative to income growth rose from 1947-1960 and then fell dramatically by 50 percent from the 1960s to the 1990s. Second, the correlation between consumption growth and personal income growth fell by about 50 percent over the same time period. Finally, the absolute deviation of consumption growth from its mean exhibits one break in U.S. data, and the mean of the absolute deviations has fallen by about 30 percent. First, I find that a standard dynamic, stochastic general equilibrium model is unable to explain these facts. Then, I examine the ability of two hypotheses: a fall in credit constraints and changing beliefs about the permanence of income shocks to account for these facts. I find evidence for both explanations and the beliefs explanation is more consistent with the data. Importantly, I find that estimated changes in beliefs about the permanence of income shocks have significant explanatory power for consumption changes.

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File URL: http://www.brandeis.edu/departments/economics/RePEc/brd/doc/Brandeis_WP06.pdf
File Function: Second version, 2009
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File URL: http://www.brandeis.edu/departments/economics/RePEc/brd/doc/Brandeis_WP06R.pdf
File Function: Third version, 2011
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School in its series Working Papers with number 06.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision: Nov 2009
Handle: RePEc:brd:wpaper:06

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Postal: MS032, P.O. Box 9110, Waltham, MA 02454-9110
Web page: http://www.brandeis.edu/departments/economics/
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Related research

Keywords: Consumption; Business Fluctuations; Learning;

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References

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  1. Fatih Guvenen, 2005. "Learning Your Earning: Are Labor Income Shocks Really Very Persistent?," Macroeconomics 0507004, EconWPA.
  2. Stephen G Cecchetti & Alfonso Flores-Lagunes & Stefan Krause, 2005. "Assessing the Sources of Changes in the Volatility of Real Growth," RBA Annual Conference Volume, in: Christopher Kent & David Norman (ed.), The Changing Nature of the Business Cycle Reserve Bank of Australia.
  3. Margaret McConnell & Gabriel Perez Quiros, 2000. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  4. Mark Aguiar & Gita Gopinath, 2004. "Emerging Market Business Cycles: The Cycle is the Trend," NBER Working Papers 10734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Perron, P. & Bai, J., 1995. "Estimating and Testing Linear Models with Multiple Structural Changes," Cahiers de recherche 9552, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  6. BAI, Jushan & PERRON, Pierre, 1998. "Computation and Analysis of Multiple Structural-Change Models," Cahiers de recherche 9807, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  7. Karen E. Dynan & Douglas W. Elmendorf & Daniel E. Sichel, 2005. "Can financial innovation help to explain the reduced volatility of economic activity?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-54, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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