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Is consumption insufficiently sensitive to innovations in income?

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  • Lawrence J. Christiano

Abstract

Deaton (1986) has noted that if income is a first-order autoregressive process in first differences, then a simple version of Friedman’s permanent income hypothesis (SPIH) implies that measured U.S. consumption is insufficiently sensitive to innovations in income. This paper argues that this implication of the SPIH is a consequence of the fact that it ignores the role of the substitution effect in the consumption decision. Using a parametric version of the standard model of economic growth, the paper shows that very small movements in interest rates are sufficient to induce an empirically plausible amount of consumption smoothing. Since an overall evaluation of the model’s explanation for the observed smoothness of consumption requires examining its implications for other aspects of the data, the paper also explores some of these.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 106.

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Date of creation: 1987
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:106

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Keywords: Consumption (Economics) ; Income;

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  1. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Francesco Busato & Bruno Chiarini & Elisabetta Marzano, 2006. "Consumption and Income Smoothing," Discussion Papers 13_2006, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
  2. Marcelo Veracierto, 1997. "Plant level irreversible investment and equilibrium business cycles," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 115, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Eichenbaum, Martin, 1990. "Unit roots in real GNP: Do we know, and do we care?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 7-61, January.
  4. Sorensen, Bent E. & Yosha, Oved, 1998. "International risk sharing and European monetary unification," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 211-238, August.
  5. Michele Boldrin & Lawrence J. Christiano & Jonas D.M. Fisher, 1999. "Habit persistence, asset returns and the business cycles," Working Paper Series WP-99-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  6. Kelly, David L. & Kolstad, Charles D., 1999. "Solving Infinite Horizon Growth Models with an Environmental Sector," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt3hd4c4v3, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  7. Hansen, Gary D., 1997. "Technical progress and aggregate fluctuations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 1005-1023, June.
  8. Parantap Basu, 1994. "Capital risk and consumption puzzles: A pedagogical note," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 60(1), pages 99-107, February.
  9. James M. Nason, 1991. "The permanent income hypothesis when the bliss point is stochastic," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 46, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. Vinod, H. D. & Basu, Parantap, 1995. "Forecasting consumption, income and real interest rates from alternative state space models," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 217-231, June.
  11. Marjorie A. Flavin, 1988. "The Excess Smoothness of Consumption: Identification and Interpretation," NBER Working Papers 2807, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Basu, Parantap, 1995. "Tax rate uncertainty and the sensitivity of consumption to income in an overlapping generations model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 421-439.

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