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Earnings, consumption and lifecycle choices

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  • Costas Meghir

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Yale University)

  • Luigi Pistaferri

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Stanford University)

Abstract

We discuss recent developments in the literature that studies how the dynamics of earnings and wages affect consumption choices over the life cycle. We start by analyzing the theoretical impact of income changes on consumption - highlighting the role of persistence, information, size and insurability of changes in economic resources. We next examine the empirical contributions, distinguishing between papers that use only income data and those that use both income and consumption data. The latter do this for two purposes. First, one can make explicit assumptions about the structure of credit and insurance markets and identify the income process or the information set of the individuals. Second, one can assume that the income process or the amount of information that consumers have are known and tests the implications of the theory. In general there is an identification issue that is only recently being addressed, with better data or better "experiments". We conclude with a discussion of the literature that endogenize people's earnings and therefore change the nature of risk faced by households.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W10/05.

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Date of creation: Apr 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:10/05

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  1. Orazio P. Attanasio & Nicola Pavoni, 2011. "Risk Sharing in Private Information Models With Asset Accumulation: Explaining the Excess Smoothness of Consumption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(4), pages 1027-1068, 07.
  2. Fatih Guvenen, 2009. "An Empirical Investigation of Labor Income Processes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 58-79, January.
  3. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Salvador Navarro, 2005. "Separating uncertainty from heterogeneity in life cycle earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 191-261, April.
  4. Orazio Attanasio & Erich Battistin & Hidehiko Ichimura, 2004. "What Really Happened to Consumption Inequality in the US?," NBER Working Papers 10338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Greg Kaplan & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "How Much Consumption Insurance Beyond Self-Insurance?," NBER Working Papers 15553, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Erich Battistin & Richard Blundell & Arthur Lewbel, 2007. "Why is consumption more log normal than income? Gibrat's law revisited," IFS Working Papers W07/08, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  7. Melvin Stephens Jr., 2003. "The Consumption Response to Predictable Changes in Discretionary Income: Evidence from the Repayment of Vehicle Loans," NBER Working Papers 9976, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
  9. Gorodnichenko, Yuriy & Peter, Klara Sabirianova & Stolyarov, Dmitriy, 2009. "Inequality and Volatility Moderation in Russia: Evidence from Micro-Level Panel Data on Consumption and Income," IZA Discussion Papers 4233, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Fatih Guvenen, 2006. "Learning your earning: are labor income shocks really very persistent?," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 145, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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  13. Lisa A. Cameron & Christopher Worswick, 2003. "The Labor Market as a Smoothing Device: Labor Supply Responses to Crop Loss," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(2), pages 327-341, 05.
  14. Geweke, John & Keane, Michael, 2000. "An empirical analysis of earnings dynamics among men in the PSID: 1968-1989," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 293-356, June.
  15. Christopher D Carroll, 2001. "Precautionary Saving and the Marginal Propensity To Consume Out of Permanent Income," Economics Working Paper Archive 445, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics, revised Aug 2009.
  16. Primiceri, Giorgio E. & van Rens, Thijs, 2006. "Heterogenous Life-Cycle Profiles, Income Risk and Consumption Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 5881, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Raj Chetty & Adam Szeidl, 2007. "Consumption Commitments and Risk Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(2), pages 831-877, 05.
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  19. Katja Kaufmann & Luigi Pistaferri, 2009. "Disentangling Insurance and Information in Intertemporal Consumption Choices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 387-92, May.
  20. Huggett, Mark, 1996. "Wealth distribution in life-cycle economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 469-494, December.
  21. Melvin Stephens, 2001. "The Long-Run Consumption Effects Of Earnings Shocks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 28-36, February.
  22. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura & Amir Yaron, 2007. "Sources of Lifetime Inequality," NBER Working Papers 13224, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Erich Battistin, 2002. "Errors in Survey Reports of Consumption Expenditures," 10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002 C4-2, International Conferences on Panel Data.
  24. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Agar Brugiavini, 1999. "Risk pooling, precautionary saving and consumption growth," IFS Working Papers W99/19, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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  26. Thomas, Duncan & Beegle, Kathleen & Frankenberg, Elizabeth & Sikoki, Bondan & Strauss, John & Teruel, Graciela, 2004. "Education in a crisis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 53-85, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Mark Huggett & Greg Kaplan, 2012. "The Money Value of a Man," NBER Working Papers 18066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Stephen Jenkins & Peter Lambert, 2011. "Robert Moffitt and Peter Gottschalk’s 1995 paper ‘Trends in the covariance structure of earnings in the US: 1969–1987’," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 433-437, September.
  3. Gustavsson, Magnus, 2013. "Permanent versus Transitory Wage Differentials and the Inequality-Hours Hypothesis," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies 2013:12, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  4. Gabriela Prelipcean & Mircea Boscoianu, 2014. "Stochastic Dynamic Model on the Consumption – Saving Decision for Adjusting Products and Services Supply According with Consumers` Attainability," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 16(35), pages 201, February.
  5. Huggett, Mark & Kaplan, Greg, 2011. "Human capital values and returns: Bounds implied by earnings and asset returns data," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(3), pages 897-919, May.
  6. Tom Krebs & Moritz Kuhn & Mark L. J. Wright, 2011. "Human Capital Risk, Contract Enforcement, and the Macroeconomy," NBER Working Papers 17714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura & Amir Yaron, 2010. "Sources of Lifetime Inequality," Working Papers 2011-020, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.

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