IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Consumption: Beyond Certainty Equivalence


  • Blanchard, Olivier Jean
  • Mankiw, N Gregory


This paper discusses the recent research on the consumption function that has attempted to relax the assumption of certainty equivalence. While there remain many open questions, both theoretical and empirical, it is clear that the assumption of certainty equivalence can be misleading. Under more plausible specifications of preferences toward risk, uncertainty lowers the level of consumption, increases the expected rate of growth of consumption, and increases the response of consumption to news about income. Moreover, changes in the amount of uncertainty are a potentially important source of fluctuations in consumption.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Mankiw, N Gregory, 1988. "Consumption: Beyond Certainty Equivalence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 173-177, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:78:y:1988:i:2:p:173-77

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to JSTOR subscribers. See for details.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 706-732, August.
    2. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1998. "Irreversible investment," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 3-37, March.
    3. Kimball, Miles S & Mankiw, N Gregory, 1989. "Precautionary Saving and the Timing of Taxes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 863-879, August.
    4. Hayne E. Leland, 1968. "Saving and Uncertainty: The Precautionary Demand for Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(3), pages 465-473.
    5. Dreze, Jacques H. & Modigliani, Franco, 1972. "Consumption decisions under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 308-335, December.
    6. Hall, Robert E & Mishkin, Frederic S, 1982. "The Sensitivity of Consumption to Transitory Income: Estimates from Panel Data on Households," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 461-481, March.
    7. A. Sandmo, 1970. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Saving Decisions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(3), pages 353-360.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Schwarze, Johannes, 2008. "Subjective Measures of Economic Well-Being and the Influence of Income Uncertainty," IZA Discussion Papers 3720, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Jan-Oliver Menz & Lena Vogel, 2009. "A Detailed Derivation of the Sticky Price and Sticky Information New Keynesian DSGE Model," Macroeconomics and Finance Series 200902, Hamburg University, Department Wirtschaft und Politik.
    3. Garcia-Penalosa, Cecilia & Turnovsky, Stephen J., 2005. "Production risk and the functional distribution of income in a developing economy: tradeoffs and policy responses," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 175-208, February.
    4. Damien Echevin, 1999. "Nouvelles approches des comportements d'épargne et de consommation," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 324(1), pages 9-18.
    5. Jetter, Michael & Nikolsko-Rzhevskyy, Alex & Smith, William T., 2013. "The effects of wage volatility on growth," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 93-109.
    6. Hideaki Tamura & Yoichi Matsuabayashi, 2016. "Alternative Resolution to the Mehra?Prescott Puzzle: Verification by the Original Data," Discussion Papers 1634, Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University.
    7. Meghir, Costas & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2011. "Earnings, Consumption and Life Cycle Choices," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    8. Gomes, Fábio Augusto Reis & Ribeiro, Priscila Fernandes, 2015. "Estimating the elasticity of intertemporal substitution taking into account the precautionary savings motive," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 108-123.
    9. Atreya Chakraborty & Mark Kazarosian, 1999. "Portfolio Allocation of Precautionary Assets: Panel Evidence for the United States," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 432, Boston College Department of Economics.
    10. Johannes Schwarze, 1994. "Subjective Measures of Economic Well-Being and the Influence of Income Uncertainty," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 94, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    11. William Smith, 1998. "Birth, Death, and Consumption: Overlapping Generations and the Random Walk Hypothesis," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 105-116.
    12. Talmain, Gabriel, 1998. "An analytical approximate solution to the problem of precautionary savings," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 113-124, September.
    13. Rodepeter, Ralf, 1997. "Identifikation von Sparprofilen im Lebenszyklus," Papers 97-01, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    14. Letendre, Marc-Andre & Smith, Gregor W., 2001. "Precautionary saving and portfolio allocation: DP by GMM," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 197-215, August.
    15. Saving and Investment Task Force & Rodriguez-Palenzuela, Diego & Dées, Stéphane & Andersson, Malin & Bijsterbosch, Martin & Forster, Katrin & Zorell, Nico & Audoly, Richard & Buelens, Christian & Comp, 2016. "Savings and investment behaviour in the euro area," Occasional Paper Series 167, European Central Bank.
    16. Daniel, Betty C., 1997. "Precautionary saving and persistent current account imbalance," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 179-193, February.
    17. Smith, William T., 2002. "Consumption and saving with habit formation and durability," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 369-375, May.
    18. Atreya Chakraborty & Mark Kazarosian & Emery Trahan, 1999. "Uncertainty in Executive Compensation and Capital Investment: A Panel Study," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 434, Boston College Department of Economics.
    19. Jan-Oliver Menz, 2010. "Uncertainty, social norms and consumption theory: Post and New Keynesian approaches," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 7(1), pages 125-146.
    20. repec:kob:wpaper:1634 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Sidorenko, Alexandra, 2001. "Stochastic Model of Demand for Medical Care with Endogenous Labour Supply and Health Insurance," Departmental Working Papers 2001-08, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
    22. Paul Hiebert & Javier J. Pérez & Massimo Rostagno, 2002. "Debt reduction and automatic stabilisation," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2002/12, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
    23. Zhou, Yanfei, 2003. "Precautionary saving and earnings uncertainty in Japan: A household-level analysis," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 192-212, June.
    24. Fischer Black, 1989. "Mean Reversion and Consumption Smoothing," NBER Working Papers 2946, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    25. Päivi Kankaanranta, 2006. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle: A Selected Literature Review," Discussion Papers 7, Aboa Centre for Economics.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:78:y:1988:i:2:p:173-77. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.