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Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption

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  • Robert E. Hall

Abstract

Does a higher real interest rate induce significant postponement of consumption? According to the theory developed here, this question can be answered by studying the relation between the rate of growth of consumption and expected real interest rates. In postwar data for the United States, expected real returns have declined over time in the stock market and for savings accounts. Over the same period, the rate of growth of consumption has been almost steady. The paper concludes that intertemporal substitution is weak, for if it were strong, the growth rate of consumption would have declined.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 0720.

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Date of creation: Jul 1981
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Publication status: published as Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 96, No. 2, pp. 339-357, (1988).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0720

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