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Do Households Smooth Expenditure over Anticipated Income Changes? Evidence from Bonus Payments to Public Employees in Japan

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  • Hori, Masahiro
  • Shimizutani, Satoshi

Abstract

This paper provides new evidence of consumers’ reaction to an anticipated sizable change in income. Until FY2002, Japanese public employees received predictable large bonus payments three times a fiscal year (in June, December, and March), but the March bonus was abolished in FY2003. We compare the seasonal patterns of public employees’ expenditure before and after the reform of the bonus payment schedule. Contrary to the prediction of the life cycle/permanent income hypothesis (LC/PIH), we find evidence that monthly patterns of household expenditure were significantly affected by the anticipated large change in income pattern. However, at closer inspection, this excess sensitivity of expenditure is observed only for expenditure subcategories of some durability, i.e., durables and semi-durables. Thus, while the LC/PIH does not appear to hold for expenditure (which we observe here), it may still hold for consumption.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series CIS Discussion paper series with number 532.

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Length: 44 p.
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hit:cisdps:532

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Keywords: Life cycle/permanent income hypothesis; excess sensitivity; bonus payments; Family Income and Expenditure Survey; Japan;

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  1. Souleles, Nicholas S., 2002. "Consumer response to the Reagan tax cuts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 99-120, July.
  2. Shimizutani, Satoshi, 2006. "Consumer response to the 1998 tax cut: Is a temporary tax cut effective?," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 269-287, June.
  3. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
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  8. Chang-Tai Hsieh, 2003. "Do Consumers React to Anticipated Income Changes? Evidence from the Alaska Permanent Fund," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 397-405, March.
  9. Melvin Stephens & Takashi Unayama, 2011. "The Consumption Response to Seasonal Income: Evidence from Japanese Public Pension Benefits," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 86-118, October.
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  12. Melvin Stephens, 2008. "The Consumption Response to Predictable Changes in Discretionary Income: Evidence from the Repayment of Vehicle Loans," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 241-252, May.
  13. Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2001. "Consumer Response to Tax Rebates," NBER Working Papers 8672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Nicholas S. Souleles, 1999. "The Response of Household Consumption to Income Tax Refunds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 947-958, September.
  15. Stephens, Melvin & Unayama, Takashi, 2012. "The impact of retirement on household consumption in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 62-83.
  16. Shapiro, Matthew D & Slemrod, Joel, 1995. "Consumer Response to the Timing of Income: Evidence from a Change in Tax Withholding," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 274-83, March.
  17. Hori Masahiro & Shimizutani Satoshi, 2009. "The Response of Household Expenditure to Anticipated Income Changes: Bonus Payments and the Seasonality of Consumption in Japan," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-22, August.
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