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The Response of Consumption in Russian Households to Economic Shocks

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  • Stillman, Steven

    ()
    (University of Otago)

Abstract

This paper examines the extent to which consumption in Russian households responds to exogenous income shocks. During the time period studied in this paper (1994 – 1998), Russia experienced two major economic crises. Both featured extreme movements in the real ruble-dollar exchange rate. The price of oil, which is typically thought to have a strong effect on the Russian economy, was also quite volatile during this time period. This paper exploits these large changes in oil prices and exchange rates, as well as community-level variations in wage and pension arrears, to identify exogenous shocks to household income. Using representative panel data on urban households from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey, I find that a household which experiences an exogenous shock of 10% of its total income changes both its food and total non-durable expenditure by 7-11%. Most evidence indicates that these shocks are transitory in nature and thus the traditional Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis model is firmly rejected as describing the behavior of Russian households. Additional results indicate that changes in household savings are negatively related to exogenous income shocks, with this relationship strongest for low wealth households. Only models of consumption which include precautionary savings motives can explain why poorer households both reduce their consumption and increase their savings in response to an exogenous decline in income.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 411.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp411

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Keywords: Consumption; savings; consumption smoothing; precautionary savings; economic shocks; Russia;

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References

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  1. Hall, Robert E & Mishkin, Frederic S, 1982. "The Sensitivity of Consumption to Transitory Income: Estimates from Panel Data on Households," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 461-81, March.
  2. Shelly Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak, 1996. "Bargaining and Distribution in Marriage," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 139-158, Fall.
  3. Alderman, H. & Paxson, C.H., 1992. "Do the Poor Insure? A Synthesis of the Literature on Risk and Consumption in Developing Countries," Papers 164, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  4. Bhalla, Surjit S, 1980. "The Measurement of Permanent Income and Its Application to Savings Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(4), pages 722-44, August.
  5. Lehmann, Hartmut & Wadsworth, Jonathan & Acquisti, Alessandro, 1999. "Grime and Punishment: Insecurity and Wage Arrears in the Russian Federation," IZA Discussion Papers 65, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Hartmut Lehmann & Jonathan Wadsworth & Alessandro Acquisti, 1998. "Grime and punishment: job insecurity and wage arrears in the Russian Federation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20251, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Christopher D. Carroll, 2001. "A Theory of the Consumption Function, with and without Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 23-45, Summer.
  8. Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "The Reaction of Household Consumption to Predictable Changes in Social Security Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 959-973, September.
  9. Martin Browning & M. Dolores Collado, 2001. "The Response of Expenditures to Anticipated Income Changes: Panel Data Estimates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 681-692, June.
  10. 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.
  11. Cochrane, John H, 1991. "A Simple Test of Consumption Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 957-76, October.
  12. Paxson, C.H., 1991. "Consumption And Income Seasonality In Thailand," Papers 150, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
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Cited by:
  1. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Klara Sabirianova Peter & Dmitriy Stolyarov, 2009. "Inequality and Volatility Moderation in Russia: Evidence from Micro-Level Panel Data on Consumption and Income," NBER Working Papers 15080, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Stillman, Steven & Thomas, Duncan, 2004. "The Effect of Economic Crises on Nutritional Status: Evidence from Russia," IZA Discussion Papers 1092, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Irac, D. & Minoiu, C., 2006. "Risk Insurance in a Transition Economy: Evidence from Rural Romania," Working papers 154, Banque de France.
  4. Maksim Yemelyanau, 2009. "Second agriculture in Belarus and Ukraine:subsistence or leisure?," BEROC Working Paper Series 08, Belarusian Economic Research and Outreach Center (BEROC).
  5. Mark C. Foley & William Pyle, 2005. "Household Savings in Russia during the Transition," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0522, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.

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