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Who Bears Aggregate Fluctuations and How?

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  • Jonathan A. Parker
  • Annette Vissing-Jorgensen

Abstract

The consumption of high-consumption households is more exposed to fluctuations in aggregate consumption and income than that of low-consumption households in the Consumer Expenditure (CEX) Survey. The exposure to aggregate consumption growth of households in the top 10 percent of the consumption distribution in the CEX is about five times that of households in the bottom 80 percent. Given real aggregate per capita consumption growth about 3 percentage points less than its historical mean during the past year, these figures predict that the ratio of consumption of the top 10 percent to the bottom 80 percent has fallen by about 15 percentage points (relative to trend). Using income data from Piketty and Saez (2003), we show that the income (especially the wage income) of rich households is more exposed to aggregate fluctuations, so their higher income exposure is a likely contributor to their higher consumption exposure. Finally, we find a striking change in the exposure of the incomes of high-income households: prior to the early 1980's, the incomes of high-income households were not more exposed to aggregate fluctuations. Thus, while high-income households currently bear an inordinately large share of aggregate fluctuations, this is a recent occurrence.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14665.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
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Publication status: published as Jonathan A. Parker & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2009. "Who Bears Aggregate Fluctuations and How?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 399-405, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14665

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  1. Primiceri, Giorgio E. & van Rens, Thijs, 2006. "Heterogenous Life-Cycle Profiles, Income Risk and Consumption Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 5881, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality In The United States, 1913-1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-39, February.
  3. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Zeldes, Stephen P., 1991. "The consumption of stockholders and nonstockholders," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 97-112, March.
  4. Christopher J. Malloy & Tobias J. Moskowitz & Annette Vissing-Jørgensen, 2009. "Long-Run Stockholder Consumption Risk and Asset Returns," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(6), pages 2427-2479, December.
  5. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2003. "On the Welfare Consequences of the Increase in Inequality in the United States," NBER Working Papers 9993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. David M. Cutler & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "Macroeconomic Performance and the Disadvantaged," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 1-74.
  7. Jonathan A. Parker, 2001. "The Consumption Risk of the Stock Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(2), pages 279-348.
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As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Who bears the cost of fluctuations?
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-02-17 12:19:00
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Cited by:
  1. Lawrence J. Christiano & Mathias Trabandt & Karl Walentin, 2010. "Involuntary Unemployment and the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 15801, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jonathan A. Parker & Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2010. "The Increase in Income Cyclicality of High-Income Households and its Relation to the Rise in Top Income Shares," NBER Working Papers 16577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Gust, Christopher & López-Salido, J David, 2009. "Monetary Policy, Velocity, and the Equity Premium," CEPR Discussion Papers 7388, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Kollmann, Robert & Enders, Zeno & Müller, Gernot J., 2011. "Global banking and international business cycles," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 407-426, April.
  5. Jeffrey Thompson & Timothy M. Smeeding, 2010. "Recent Trends in the Distribution of Income: Labor, Wealth and More Complete Measures of Well Being," Working Papers wp225, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  6. Christopher Gust & David López-Salido, 2009. "Portfolio inertia and the equity premium," International Finance Discussion Papers 984, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Christopher Gust & David Lopez-Salido, 2010. "Monetary policy and the cyclicality of risk," International Finance Discussion Papers 999, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Solomon, Bernard Daniel, 2010. "Firm leverage, household leverage and the business cycle," MPRA Paper 26504, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  9. Salvatore Morelli, 2014. "Banking Crises in the US: the Response of Top Income Shares in a Historical Perspective," CSEF Working Papers 359, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  10. Gust, Christopher & López-Salido, David, 2014. "Monetary policy and the cyclicality of risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 59-75.
  11. Conny Olovsson, 2014. "How Does a Pay-as-you-go System Affect Asset Returns and the Equity Premium?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(1), pages 131-149, January.
  12. Lagakos, David & Ordoñez, Guillermo L., 2011. "Which workers get insurance within the firm?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(6), pages 632-645.

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