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Durable Consumption and Asset Management with Transaction and Observation Costs

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  • Fernando Alvarez
  • Luigi Guiso
  • Francesco Lippi

Abstract

The empirical evidence on rational inattention lags far behind the theoretical developments: micro evidence on the most immediate consequence of observation costs - the infrequent observation of state variables - is not available in standard datasets. We contribute to filling the gap with two novel household surveys that record the frequency with which investors observe the value of their financial investments, as well as the frequency with which they trade in financial assets and durable goods. We use these data to test some predictions of existing models and show that to match the patterns in the data we need to modify these models by shifting the focus from non-durable to durable consumption. The model we develop features both observation and transaction costs and implies a mixture of time-dependent and state-dependent rules, where the importance of each rule depends on the ratio of the observation to the transaction cost. Numerical simulations show that the model can produce frequency of portfolio observations and asset trading comparable to that of the median investor (about 4 and 0.4 per year, respectively) with small observation costs (about 1 basis point of financial wealth)and larger transaction costs (about 30 basis points of financial wealth). In spite of its small size the observation cost gives rise to infrequent information gathering (between monthly and quarterly). A quantitative assessment of the relevance of the observation costs shows that the behavior of the investors is essentially unchanged compared to the one produced by a model with transaction but no observation cost. We test a novel prediction of the model on the relationship between assets trades and durable-goods trades and find that it is aligned with the data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European University Institute in its series Economics Working Papers with number ECO2010/04.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2010/04

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References

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  1. Alvarez, Fernando E & Lippi, Francesco, 2007. "Financial Innovation and the Transactions Demand for Cash," CEPR Discussion Papers 6472, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2001. "Sticky Information Versus Sticky Prices: A Proposal to Replace the New Keynesian Phillips Curve," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1922, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Ricardo Reis, 2004. "Inattentive Consumers," Working Papers 135, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics..
  4. 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.
  5. Luigi Guiso & Monica Paiella, 2008. "Risk Aversion, Wealth, and Background Risk," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(6), pages 1109-1150, December.
  6. Yosef Bonaparte & Russell Cooper, 2009. "Costly Portfolio Adjustment," NBER Working Papers 15227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Orazio Attanasio & Luigi Guiso & Tuillo Jappelli, 1998. "The Demand for Money, Financial Innovation, and the Welfare Cost of Inflation: An Analysis with Household Data," NBER Working Papers 6593, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. F. Alvarez & F. Lippi & L. Paciello, 2010. "Optimal price setting with observation and menu costs," 2010 Meeting Papers 478, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Yi-Li Chien & Harold L. Cole & Hanno Lustig, 2009. "Is the Volatility of the Market Price of Risk due to Intermittent Portfolio Re-balancing?," NBER Working Papers 15382, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
  11. Xavier Gabaix & David Laibson, 2002. "The 6D Bias and the Equity Premium Puzzle," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1947, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  12. Andrew B. Abel & Janice C. Eberly & Stavros Panageas, 2007. "Optimal Inattention to the Stock Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 244-249, May.
  13. Sims, Christopher A., 2005. "Rational inattention: a research agenda," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2005,34, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  14. Verrecchia, Robert E, 1982. "Information Acquisition in a Noisy Rational Expectations Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1415-30, November.
  15. Fernando Alvarez & Andrew Atkeson & Chris Edmond, 2003. "On the Sluggish Response of Prices to Money in an Inventory-Theoretic Model of Money Demand," NBER Working Papers 10016, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Luigi Guiso & Tullio Jappelli, 2006. "Information Acquisition and Portfolio Performance," CeRP Working Papers 52, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  17. Joël Peress, 2004. "Wealth, Information Acquisition, and Portfolio Choice," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 17(3), pages 879-914.
  18. Duffie, Darrell & Sun, Tong-sheng, 1990. "Transactions costs and portfolio choice in a discrete-continuous-time setting," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 35-51, February.
  19. Stokey, Nancy L., 2009. "Moving costs, nondurable consumption and portfolio choice," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(6), pages 2419-2439, November.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Nikolai Roussanov & Michael Michaux & Hui Chen, 2011. "Houses as ATMs? Mortgage Refinancing and Macroeconomic Uncertainty," 2011 Meeting Papers 1369, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Verona, Fabio, 2013. "Investment dynamics with information costs," Research Discussion Papers 18/2013, Bank of Finland.
  3. YiLi Chien & Kanda Naknoi, 2011. "The Risk Premium and Long-Run Global Imbalances," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1266, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  4. Fernando Alvarez & Francesco Lippi & Luigi Paciello, 2010. "Optimal Price Setting with Observation and Menu Costs," EIEF Working Papers Series 1010, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised May 2010.
  5. Aubhik Khan & Julia Thomas, . "Revisiting the Tale of Two Interest Rates with Endogenous Market Segmentation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics.
  6. Guiso, Luigi & Sodini, Paolo, 2012. "Household Finance: An Emerging Field," CEPR Discussion Papers 8934, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Fernando Alvarez & Francesco Lippi, 2012. "The Demand of Liquid Assets with Uncertain Lumpy Expenditures," NBER Working Papers 18152, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Fernanda Nechio, 2010. "Foreign stock holdings: the role of information," Working Paper Series 2010-26, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  9. Jeffrey V. Butler & Luigi Guiso & Tullio Jappelli, 2011. "The role of intuition and reasoning in driving aversion to risk and ambiguity," EIEF Working Papers Series 1107, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Oct 2011.
  10. Riccardo Giacomelli & Elisa Luciano, 2011. "Equilibrium price of immediacy and infrequent trade," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 221, Collegio Carlo Alberto, revised 2013.

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