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Commitment, Risk, and Consumption: Do Birds of a Feather Have Bigger Nests?

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  • Stephen H. Shore
  • Todd Sinai

Abstract

We show that incorporating consumption commitments into a standard model of precautionary saving can complicate the usual relationship between risk and consumption. In particular, we present a model where the presence of plausible adjustment costs can cause a mean-preserving increase in unemployment risk to lead to increased consumption. The predictions of this model are consistent with empirical evidence from dual-earning couples. Couples who share an occupation face increased risk as their unemployment shocks are more highly correlated. Such couples spend more on owner-occupied housing than other couples, spend no more on rent, and are more likely to rent than own. This pattern is strongest when the household faces higher moving costs, or when unemployment insurance provides a less generous safety net.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11588.

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Date of creation: Aug 2005
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Publication status: published as Stephen H Shore & Todd Sinai, 2010. "Commitment, Risk, and Consumption: Do Birds of a Feather Have Bigger Nests?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 408-424, 07.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11588

Note: EFG LS PE
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  1. Patric H. Hendershott & Joel Slemrod, 1982. "Taxes and the User Cost of Capital for Owner-Occupied Housing," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 10(4), pages 375-393.
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  4. Marjorie Flavin & Takashi Yamashita, 2002. "Owner-Occupied Housing and the Composition of the Household Portfolio," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 345-362, March.
  5. Todd Sinai & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2003. "Owner-Occupied Housing as a Hedge Against Rent Risk," NBER Working Papers 9462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Robst, John & Deitz, Richard & McGoldrick, KimMarie, 1999. "Income variability, uncertainty and housing tenure choice1," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 219-229, March.
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  14. Joseph Gyourko & Joseph Tracy, 2003. "Using home maintenance and repairs to smooth variable earnings," Staff Reports 168, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  15. Brueckner, Jan K, 1997. "Consumption and Investment Motives and the Portfolio Choices of Homeowners," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 159-80, October.
  16. Engen, Eric M. & Gruber, Jonathan, 2001. "Unemployment insurance and precautionary saving," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 545-579, June.
  17. Cullen, Julie Berry & Gruber, Jonathan, 2000. "Does Unemployment Insurance Crowd Out Spousal Labor Supply?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 546-72, July.
  18. Feldstein, Martin & Poterba, James, 1984. "Unemployment insurance and reservation wages," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 141-167.
  19. Raj Chetty, 2004. "Consumption Commitments, Unemployment Durations, and Local Risk Aversion," NBER Working Papers 10211, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Goetzmann, William Nelson, 1993. "The Single Family Home in the Investment Portfolio," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 201-22, May.
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  23. Adam Szeidl & Raj Chetty, 2004. "Consumption Commitments and Asset Prices," 2004 Meeting Papers 354, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  24. Martin Browning & Thomas Crossley, 2003. "Shocks, Stocks and Socks," Department of Economics Working Papers 2003-07, McMaster University.
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Cited by:
  1. Fran?ois Ortalo-Magn? & Andrea Prat, 2014. "On the Political Economy of Urban Growth: Homeownership versus Affordability," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 154-81, February.
  2. Salvador Ortigueira & Nawid Siassi, 2011. "How important is intra-household risk sharing for savings and labor supply?," Economics Working Papers we1132, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  3. Andrew Postlewaite & Larry Samuelson & Dan Silverman, 2008. "Consumption Commitments and Employment Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(2), pages 559-578.
  4. Andrew Postlewaite & Larry Samuelson & Dan Silverman, 2006. "Consumption Commitments and Employment Contracts, Fourth Version," PIER Working Paper Archive 07-020, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 09 Jul 2007.
  5. Paciorek, Andrew & Sinai, Todd, 2012. "Does home owning smooth the variability of future housing consumption?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 244-257.
  6. Raj Chetty & Adam Szeidl, 2007. "Consumption Commitments and Risk Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(2), pages 831-877, 05.
  7. Cristina Barceló & Ernesto Villanueva, 2010. "The response of household wealth to the risk of losing the job: evidence from differences in firing costs," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 1002, Banco de Espa�a.
  8. Davidoff, Thomas, 2010. "Home equity commitment and long-term care insurance demand," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 44-49, February.
  9. Francesco Mariotti & Karen Mumford & Yolanda Pena-Boquete, 2014. "Household Asset Holding Diversification in Australia," Discussion Papers 14/07, Department of Economics, University of York.
  10. University of Iowa & Galina Vereshchagina, 2007. "Preferences for risk in a dynamic model with consumption commitments," 2007 Meeting Papers 567, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. Gathergood, John, 2011. "Unemployment risk, house price risk and the transition into home ownership in the United Kingdom," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 200-209, September.

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