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Mismeasured personal saving and the permanent income hypothesis

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  • Leonard I. Nakamura
  • Tom Stark
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    Abstract

    Is it possible to forecast using poorly measured data? According to the permanent income hypothesis, a low personal saving rate should predict rising future income (Campbell, 1987). However, the U.S. personal saving rate is initially poorly measured and has been repeatedly revised upward in benchmark revisions. The authors use both conventional and real-time estimates of the personal saving rate in vector autoregressions to forecast real disposable income; using the level of the personal saving rate in real time would have almost invariably made forecasts worse, but first differences of the personal saving rate are predictive. They also test the lay hypothesis that a low personal saving rate has implications for consumption growth and find no evidence of forecasting ability.

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    Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in its series Working Papers with number 07-8.

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    Date of creation: 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:07-8

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    1. Aruoba, Boragan, 2005. "Data Revisions Are Not Well-Behaved," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 5271, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Croushore, Dean, 2006. "Forecasting with Real-Time Macroeconomic Data," Handbook of Economic Forecasting, Elsevier, Elsevier.
    3. Croushore, Dean & Stark, Tom, 2001. "A real-time data set for macroeconomists," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 105(1), pages 111-130, November.
    4. Rosanne Cole, 1969. "Data Errors and Forecasting Accuracy," NBER Chapters, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, in: Economic Forecasts and Expectations: Analysis of Forecasting Behavior and Performance, pages 47-82 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Graham Elliott & Allan Timmermann, 2008. "Economic Forecasting," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 3-56, March.
    6. Michael J. Boskin, 2000. "Economic Measurement: Progress and Challenges," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 247-252, May.
    7. Campbell, John Y, 1987. "Does Saving Anticipate Declining Labor Income? An Alternative Test of the Permanent Income Hypothesis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 55(6), pages 1249-73, November.
    8. Dean Croushore & Tom Stark, 2003. "A Real-Time Data Set for Macroeconomists: Does the Data Vintage Matter?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 605-617, August.
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