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Income Asymmetries and the Permanent Income Hypothesis

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  • Juan Urquiza
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    Abstract

    Within the context of the Permanent Income Hypothesis (PIH), the predictions for consumption depend crucially upon the process for income. In this paper, we consider an unobserved components model that allows for both asymmetric transitory movements and correlation between permanent and transitory innovations. Using aggregate U.S. data, we show that this model fits labor income data significantly better than common alternatives. However, we find that consumption is excessively smooth relative to the predictions of our model. To reconcile these predictions with the data, we explore the possibility of imperfect information. A delayed information version of the model fits the data better but consumption is excessively sensitive compared to the predictions of this model. We are able to match the data when we consider an economy in which 60 – 65% of consumers behave according to the PIH with full information and the remaining consumers have delayed information.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. in its series Documentos de Trabajo with number 409.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:ioe:doctra:409

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    Keywords: Unobserved Components Models; markov-Switching; consumption dynamics; excess smoothness; excess sensitivity; imperfect information;

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    1. Charles Nelson & Richard Startz, 2007. "The Zero-Information-Limit-Condition and Spurious Inference in Weakly Identified Models," Working Papers UWEC-2006-07-P, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
    2. Kim, C-J., 1991. "Dynamic Linear Models with Markov-Switching," Papers, York (Canada) - Department of Economics 91-8, York (Canada) - Department of Economics.
    3. Holmes, Mark J. & Silverstone, Brian, 2006. "Okun's law, asymmetries and jobless recoveries in the United States: A Markov-switching approach," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 293-299, August.
    4. James C. Morley & Charles Nelson & Eric Zivot, 2000. "Why Are Beveridge-Nelson and Unobserved-Component Decompositions of GDP So Different?," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington, Department of Economics at the University of Washington 0013, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
    5. Martin Sommer & Christopher Carroll, 2004. "Epidemiological expectations and consumption dynamics," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2003 92, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
    6. 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.
    7. Sinclair Tara M, 2009. "Asymmetry in the Business Cycle: Friedman's Plucking Model with Correlated Innovations," Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 14(1), pages 1-31, December.
    8. Sydney C. Ludvigson & Alexander Michaelides, 2001. "Does Buffer-Stock Saving Explain the Smoothness and Excess Sensitivity of Consumption?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 631-647, June.
    9. Orazio P. Attanasio & Nicola Pavoni, 2011. "Risk Sharing in Private Information Models With Asset Accumulation: Explaining the Excess Smoothness of Consumption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 79(4), pages 1027-1068, 07.
    10. Alisdair McKay & Ricardo Reis, 2006. "The Brevity and Violence of Contractions and Expansions," NBER Working Papers 12400, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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