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On the distributional properties of household consumption expenditures. The case of Italy

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  • Giorgio Fagiolo
  • Lucia Alessi
  • Matteo Barigozzi
  • Marco Capasso

Abstract

In this paper we explore the statistical properties of the distributions of consumption expenditures for a large sample of Italian households in the period 1989-2004. Goodness-of-fit tests show that household aggregate (and age-conditioned) consumption distributions are not log-normal. Rather, their logs can be invariably characterized by asymmetric exponential-power densities. Departures from log-normality are mainly due to the presence of thick lower tails coexisting with upper tails thinner than Gaussian ones. The emergence of this irreducible heterogeneity in statistical patterns casts some doubts on the attempts to explain log-normality of household consumption patterns by means of simple models based on Gibrat's Law applied to permanent income and marginal utility.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2007/24.

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Date of creation: 07 Nov 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2007/24

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Keywords: Consumption; Asymmetric Exponential-Power Distribution; Income Distribution; Log-Normal Distribution; Gibrat's Law;

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References

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  1. Marco Capasso & Lucia Alessi & Matteo Barigozzi & Giorgio Fagiolo, 2007. "On approximating the distributions of goodness-of-fit test statistics based on the empirical distribution function: The case of unknown parameters," LEM Papers Series 2007/23, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Matteo Barigozzi & Alessio Moneta, 2012. "Identifying the Independent Sources of Consumption Variation," LEM Papers Series 2012/16, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  2. Barigozzi, Matteo & Alessi, Lucia & Capasso, Marco & Fagiolo, Giorgio, 2009. "The distribution of households consumption-expenditure budget shares," Working Paper Series 1061, European Central Bank.
  3. Matteo Barigozzi & Lucia Alessi & Marco Capasso & Giorgio Fagiolo, 2008. "The Distribution of Consumption-Expenditure Budget Shares. Evidence from Italian Households," LEM Papers Series 2008/18, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  4. Alfarano, Simone & Milaković, Mishael & Irle, Albrecht & Kauschke, Jonas, 2012. "A statistical equilibrium model of competitive firms," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 136-149.
  5. Matteo Barigozzi & Biagio Speciale, 2011. "Immigrants' legal status, permanence in the destination country and the distribution of consumption expenditure," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(14), pages 1341-1347.

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