Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Life Cycle Model of Consumption and Saving

Contents:

Author Info

  • Martin Browning
  • Thomas F. Crossley

Abstract

The life-cycle model is the standard framework which economists use to think about the intertemporal allocation of time, money and effort. The model suggests that households should `smooth' expenditures. One of the strengths of the model is that it provides a single framework which integrates allocation at many different frequencies. Accordingly, we provide an assesment of the life- cycle model by re-examining the empirical evidence for smoothing (1) within the year, (2)at year-to-year or business cycle frequencies, (3) over the working life, and (4) across the stages of life, such as working into retirement. We conclude that although unresolved challenges remain, the model has had many more successes than failures. We provide some calculations that show that where deviations from the model's predictions have been detected, they imply very small welfare costs for households. Moreover, economists are really just beginning systematic application of general theory models to microdata. Thus it is much too early to abandon the life-cycle model.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/sedap/p/sedap28.PDF
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by McMaster University in its series Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers with number 28.

as in new window
Length: 54 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:28

Contact details of provider:
Postal: 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, L8S 4M4
Phone: (905) 525-9140 ext. 22765
Fax: (905) 521-8232
Email:
Web page: http://www.mcmaster.ca/economics/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: life cycle model; consumption; saving;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Attanasio, Orazio P & Weber, Guglielmo, 1995. "Is Consumption Growth Consistent with Intertemporal Optimization? Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1121-57, December.
  2. Shea, John, 1995. "Union Contracts and the Life-Cycle/Permanent-Income Hypothesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 186-200, March.
  3. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1998. "Effects of Pensions on Saving: Analysis with Data from the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Working Papers 6681, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1996. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1797-1855, December.
  5. Martin Browning & Mette Ejrnæs, 2002. "Consumption and Children," CAM Working Papers 2002-06, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  6. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-57, April.
  7. Attanasio, O.P. & Browning, M.J., 1993. "Consumption over the life cycle and over the business cycle," Discussion Paper 1993-14, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  8. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1985. "A Near-rational Model of the Business Cycle, with Wage and Price Intertia," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(5), pages 823-38, Supp..
  9. 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.
  10. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Sarah Tanner, 1995. "Is there a retirement-savings puzzle?," IFS Working Papers W95/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  11. Kocherlakota, N., 1995. "The Equity Premium: It's Still a Puzzle," Working Papers 95-05, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
  12. Orazio P. Attanasio & James Banks & Costas Meghir & Guglielmo Weber, 1995. "Humps and Bumps in Lifetime Consumption," NBER Working Papers 5350, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. repec:att:wimass:9724 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Glenn R. Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 3-95, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  15. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 7271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Carroll, Christopher D, 1994. "How Does Future Income Affect Current Consumption?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 111-47, February.
  17. M. Dolores Collado & Martín Browning, 1999. "-The Response Of Expenditures To Anticipated Income Changes: Panel Data Estimates," Working Papers. Serie AD 1999-19, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  18. Martin Browning & Thomas Crossley, . "Shocks, stocks and socks: consumption smoothing and the replacement of durables during an unemployment spell," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 27, McMaster University.
  19. Martin Browning & Thomas Crossley, 1999. "Unemployment Insurance Benefit Levels and Consumption Changes," CEPR Discussion Papers 405, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  20. John H. Cochrane, 1988. "The Sensitivity of Tests of the Intertemporal Allocation of Consumption to Near-Rational Alternatives," NBER Working Papers 2730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Martin Browning & Lars Peter Hansen & James J. Heckman, 1999. "Micro Data and General Equilibrium Models," Discussion Papers 99-10, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  22. Thaler, Richard H, 1994. "Psychology and Savings Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 186-92, May.
  23. Annamaria Lusardi & Jonathan Skinner & Steven F. Venti, 2001. "Saving Puzzles and Saving Policies in the United States," JCPR Working Papers 220, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  24. Jonathan A. Parker, 2000. "Spendthrift in America? On Two Decades of Decline in the U.S. Saving Rate," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1999, Volume 14, pages 317-387 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  26. Huggett, Mark, 1996. "Wealth distribution in life-cycle economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 469-494, December.
  27. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 2000. "Growth and Saving Among Individuals and Households," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 212-225, May.
  28. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1, October.
  29. Nagatani, Keizo, 1972. "Life Cycle Saving: Theory and Fact," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(3), pages 344-53, June.
  30. Attanasio, Orazio P., 1999. "Consumption," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 741-812 Elsevier.
  31. Annamaria Lusardi, 2000. "Explaining Why So Many Households Do Not Save," JCPR Working Papers 150, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  32. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1991. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 263-86, April.
  33. Muellbauer, John, 1994. "The Assessment: Consumer Expenditure," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 1-41, Summer.
  34. Palumbo, Michael G, 1999. "Uncertain Medical Expenses and Precautionary Saving Near the End of the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 395-421, April.
  35. Deaton, Angus, 1991. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1221-48, September.
  36. David W. Wilcox, 1987. "Social security benefits, consumption expenditure, and the life cycle hypothesis," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 78, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  37. B. Douglas Bernheim & Jonathan Skinner & Steven Weinberg, 1997. "What Accounts for the Variation in Retirement Wealth Among U.S. Households?," Working Papers 97035, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  38. Kreps, David M & Porteus, Evan L, 1978. "Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty and Dynamic Choice Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 185-200, January.
  39. Urban J. Jermann & Marianne Baxter, 1999. "Household Production and the Excess Sensitivity of Consumption to Current Income," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 902-920, September.
  40. Engen, Eric & Gale, William & Uccello, Cori, 1999. "The Adequacy of Household Saving," MPRA Paper 56442, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  41. 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.
  42. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-87, December.
  43. Orazio P. Attanasio & Hamish Low, 2004. "Estimating Euler Equations," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(2), pages 405-435, April.
  44. Levenson, Alec R., 1996. "Do consumers respond to future income shocks? Evidence from social security reform in Taiwan," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 275-295, November.
  45. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Life Cycle Consumption and Labor Supply: An Explanation of the Relationship Between Income and Consumption Over the Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(1), pages 188-94, March.
  46. Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2001. "Household Saving and Full Consumpyion Over the Life Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 428, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  47. Davies, James B, 1981. "Uncertain Lifetime, Consumption, and Dissaving in Retirement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(3), pages 561-77, June.
  48. Carroll, Christopher D, 1997. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 1-55, February.
  49. Browning, Martin & Deaton, Angus & Irish, Margaret, 1985. "A Profitable Approach to Labor Supply and Commodity Demands over the Life-Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(3), pages 503-43, May.
  50. John H Cochrane, 2003. "Where is the Market Going: Uncertain Facts and Novel Theories," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000762, David K. Levine.
  51. Gruen, David, 1997. "Ignorance and Ricardian Equivalence," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 73(220), pages 35-44, March.
  52. Haim Mendelson & Yakov Amihud, 1982. "Optimal Consumption Policy under Uncertain Income," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(6), pages 683-697, June.
  53. Levin, Laurence, 1998. "Are assets fungible?: Testing the behavioral theory of life-cycle savings," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 59-83, July.
  54. Jonathan Gruber, 1994. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 4750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  55. Hurd, Michael D, 1987. "Savings of the Elderly and Desired Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 298-312, June.
  56. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244, September.
  57. Chris Carroll & Lawrence H. Summers, 1989. "Consumption Growth Parallels Income Growth: Some New Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3090, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  58. B. Douglas Bernheim & John B. Shoven, 1991. "National Saving and Economic Performance," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bern91-2, October.
  59. Annamaria Lusardi, 2000. "Explaining Why So Many Households Do Not Save," JCPR Working Papers 203, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  60. Poterba, James M, 1988. "Are Consumers Forward Looking? Evidence from Fiscal Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 413-18, May.
  61. Thurow, Lester C, 1969. "The Optimum Lifetime Distribution of Consumption Expenditures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(3), pages 324-30, June.
  62. Browning, Martin & Meghir, Costas, 1991. "The Effects of Male and Female Labor Supply on Commodity Demands," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 925-51, July.
  63. Susan Dynarski & Jonathan Gruber, 1997. "Can Families Smooth Variable Earnings?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 229-303.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:28. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.