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Price search, consumption inequality, and expenditure inequality over the life cycle

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  • Arslan, Yavuz
  • Taskin, Temel

Abstract

In this paper, we incorporate a price search decision into a life cycle model and differentiate consumption from expenditure. Consumers with low wealth and bad income shocks search more for cheaper prices and pay less, which makes their consumption higher than in a model without search option. A plausibly calibrated version of our model predicts that the cross-sectional variance of consumption is about 17% smaller than the cross-sectional variance of expenditure throughout the life cycle. Price search has an alternative productive activity role for lower-income people to increase their consumption levels. We discuss other implications of price search over the life cycle as well.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/34874/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 34874.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:34874

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Keywords: Consumption inequality; price search; incomplete markets; life cycle models; partial insurance;

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  1. Greg Kaplan, 2010. "Inequality and the Lifecycle," 2010 Meeting Papers 135, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Michael R. Baye & John Morgan & Patrick Scholten, 2004. "Price Dispersion In The Small And In The Large: Evidence From An Internet Price Comparison Site," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 463-496, December.
  3. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Quantitative Macroeconomics with Heterogeneous Households," NBER Working Papers 14768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Fatih Guvenen, 2007. "An Empirical Investigation of Labor Income Processes," NBER Working Papers 13394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1993. "Uninsured idiosyncratic risk and aggregate saving," Working Papers 502, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Fatih Guvenen, 2007. "Learning Your Earning: Are Labor Income Shocks Really Very Persistent?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 687-712, June.
  7. Dahlby, Bev & West, Douglas S, 1986. "Price Dispersion in an Automobile Insurance Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(2), pages 418-38, April.
  8. Alan T. Sorensen, 2000. "Equilibrium Price Dispersion in Retail Markets for Prescription Drugs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 833-862, August.
  9. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
  10. Fatih Karahan & Serdar Ozkan, 2009. "On the Persistence of Income Shocks over the Life Cycle: Evidence and Implications," PIER Working Paper Archive 09-045, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  11. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2006. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 163-193.
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