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Consumer Debt is 130% of Income: Avoiding Budget Constraint Orthodoxy

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  • Hrishikesh D. Vinod

    (Fordham University, Department of Economics)

Abstract

Consumer theory still maximizes utility subject to a budget constraint, when in fact 2008 data show that consumer debt is 130% of disposable income. Granger-causality tests confirm Consumption precedence over income. We discuss several features of newer US data, such as the ability to start /stop part-time /full time work /school, allowing families a greater control on the timing and level of income. Hence, our Wiener-Hopf-Whittle model uses 'target-seeking' optimization, while our two-equation system makes both consumption and income endogenous, similar to quantities and prices in a demand system. The new model provides estimates of shadow prices of income level and adjustment costs, and is shown to help resolve five old 'puzzles' from the consumer theory literature.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Fordham University, Department of Economics in its series Fordham Economics Discussion Paper Series with number dp2008-13.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:frd:wpaper:dp2008-13

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Web page: http://www.fordham.edu/economics/
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Related research

Keywords: Stochastic dynamic optimum; Target seeking; VAR; Wiener-Hopf-Whittle; Causality testing;

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  1. Christopher D. Carroll & David N. Weil, 1993. "Saving and Growth: A Reinterpretation," NBER Working Papers 4470, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Caballero, R.J., 1988. "Consumption Puzzles And Precautionary Savings," Discussion Papers 1988_05, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  3. Ben S. Bernanke, 1981. "Permanent Income, Liquidity, and Expenditure on Automobiles: Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 0756, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Sanford J. Grossman & Robert J. Shiller, 1981. "The Determinants of the Variability of Stock Market Prices," NBER Working Papers 0564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Flavin, Marjorie A, 1981. "The Adjustment of Consumption to Changing Expectations about Future Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 974-1009, October.
  7. John Y. Campbell, 1988. "Does Saving Anticipate Declining Labor Income? An Alternative Test of the Permanent Income Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 1805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Campbell, John Y & Mankiw, N Gregory, 1990. "Permanent Income, Current Income, and Consumption," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 8(3), pages 265-79, July.
  9. Árpád Ábrahám & Nicola Pavoni, 2005. "The Efficient Allocation of Consumption under Moral Hazard and Hidden Access to the Credit Market," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 370-381, 04/05.
  10. Steven J. Davis, 2008. "The Decline of Job Loss and Why It Matters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 263-67, May.
  11. Kasey Buckles, 2008. "Understanding the Returns to Delayed Childbearing for Working Women," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 403-07, May.
  12. Dynan Karen & Elmendorf Douglas & Sichel Daniel, 2012. "The Evolution of Household Income Volatility," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(2), pages 1-42, December.
  13. Philip N. Jefferson, 2008. "Poverty Volatility and Macroeconomic Quiescence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 392-97, May.
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