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Obsolescence of Durable Goods and Optimal Consumption

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  • Ennio Stacchetti
  • Dmitriy Stolyarov

Abstract

We study a model with a durable good subject to abrupt, periodic obsolescence, and characterize the optimal purchasing policy. Consumers optimally synchronize new purchases with the arrival of new durable models. Hence, some agents use a "flexible" optimal replacement rule that switches between two adjacent replacement frequencies at irregular intervals. These agents react to wealth shocks by changing the timing of future purchases. The model has distinct comparative statics on obsolescence and durability and can explain how durables with high depreciation rates may have more volatile expenditure. The model also predicts how demand fluctuations respond to a change in product variety. These predictions match the observed changes in volatility of the US auto sales after the introduction of smaller foreign cars in the 1970s

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings with number 120.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:nasm04:120

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Keywords: durable goods; obsolescence; aggregate consumption fluctuations;

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  1. Grossman, Sanford J & Laroque, Guy, 1990. "Asset Pricing and Optimal Portfolio Choice in the Presence of Illiquid Durable Consumption Goods," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 25-51, January.
  2. Caballero, R.J., 1994. "Explaining Investment Dynamics in U.S. Manufacturing: Generalized (S,s) Approach," Working papers 94-32, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Caballero, R.J., 1990. "Durable Goods: An Explanation For Their Slow Adjustment," Discussion Papers 1990_49, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  4. Bar-Ilan, Avner & Blinder, Alan S, 1992. "Consumer Durables: Evidence on the Optimality of Usually Doing Nothing," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 24(2), pages 258-72, May.
  5. Eberly, J.C., 1990. "Adjustment of Consumers'durables Stocks: Evidence from Automobile Purchases," Weiss Center Working Papers 22-91, Wharton School - Weiss Center for International Financial Research.
  6. Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1982. "Hall's consumption hypothesis and durable goods," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 417-425.
  7. Christopher D. Carroll & Wendy E. Dunn, 1997. "Unemployment Expectations, Jumping (S,s) Triggers, and Household Balance Sheets," NBER Working Papers 6081, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. John V. Leahy & Joseph Zeira, 2000. "The Timing of Purchases and Aggregate Fluctuations," NBER Working Papers 7672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. James H. Stock & Mark W. Watson, 2002. "Has the Business Cycle Changed and Why?," NBER Working Papers 9127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Attanasio, Orazio P, 2000. "Consumer Durables and Inertial Behaviour: Estimation and Aggregation of (S, s) Rules for Automobile Purchases," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(4), pages 667-96, October.
  11. Caballero, R.J., 1989. "Expenditure On Durable Goods: A Case For Slow Adjustment," Discussion Papers 1989_21, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  12. Jerome Adda & Russell Cooper, 2000. "The Dynamics of Car Sales: A Discrete Choice Approach," NBER Working Papers 7785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 1999. "Durable Goods Cycles," NBER Working Papers 6987, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Klara Sabirianova Peter & Dmitriy Stolyarov, 2010. "Inequality and Volatility Moderation in Russia: Evidence from Micro-Level Panel Data on Consumption and Income," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 209-237, January.
  2. Jerome Adda & Russell Cooper, 2000. "The Dynamics of Car Sales: A Discrete Choice Approach," NBER Working Papers 7785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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