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The Sensitivity of Consumption to Transitory Income: Estimates from Panel Data on Households

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  • Robert E. Hall
  • Frederic S. Mishkin

Abstract

We investigate the stochastic relation between income and consumption (specifically, consumption of food) within a panel of about 2,000 households. Our major findings are: 1. Consumption responds much more strongly to permanent than to transitory movements of income. 2. The response to transitory income is nonetheless clearly positive. 3. A simple test, independent of our model of consumption, rejects a central implication of the pure life cycle-permanent income hypothesis. The observed covariation of income and consumption is compatible with pure life cycle-permanent income behavior on the part of80 percent of families and simple proportionality of consumption and income among the remaining 20 percent. As a general matter, our findings support the view that families respond differently to different sources of income variations. In particular, temporary income tax policies have smaller effects on consumption than do other, more permanent changes in income of the same magnitude.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 0505.

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Date of creation: Jul 1980
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Publication status: published as Hall, Robert E. and Mishkin, Frederic S. "The Sensitivity of Consumption to Transitory Income: Estimates from Panel Data on Households." Econometrica, Vol. 50, No. 2, (March 1982), pp. 461-481.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0505

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  1. Frederic S. Mishkin, 1978. "Efficient-Markets Theory: Implications for Monetary Policy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 9(3), pages 707-752.
  2. Eisner, Robert, 1969. "Fiscal and Monetary Policy Reconsidered," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(5), pages 897-905, December.
  3. Fama, Eugene F, 1970. "Efficient Capital Markets: A Review of Theory and Empirical Work," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 25(2), pages 383-417, May.
  4. Walter Dolde & James Tobin, 1971. "Wealth, Liquidity, and Consumption," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 311, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  5. Rogalski, Richard J & Vinso, Joseph D, 1977. "Stock Returns, Money Supply and the Direction of Causality," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 32(4), pages 1017-30, September.
  6. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
  7. 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.
  8. Brunner, Karl & Meltzer, Allan H., 1976. "The Phillips curve," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 1-18, January.
  9. Yaari, Menahem E., 1976. "A law of large numbers in the theory of consumer's choice under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 202-217, April.
  10. Mayer, Thomas, 1972. "Tests of the Permanent Income Theory with Continuous Budgets," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 4(4), pages 757-78, November.
  11. Rozeff, Michael S., 1974. "Money and stock prices : Market efficiency and the lag in effect of monetary policy," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 245-302, September.
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