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The Sensitivity of Tests of the Intertemporal Allocation of Consumption to Near-Rational Alternatives

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  • Cochrane, John H

Abstract

Suppose a consumer sets consumption equal to income each period, rather than following the optimal permanent income decision rule. How much utility does he lose? This paper finds that the answer is typically less than 10 cents-$1 per quarter in environments specified by popular tests on aggregate data. It includes calculations of the costs of excess sensitivity and excess smoothness to income and interest rate changes and the costs of ignoring information. It concludes that the theory does not make predictions for aggregate tests that are robust to small costs, such as information or transactions. Copyright 1989 by American Economic Association.

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  • Cochrane, John H, 1989. "The Sensitivity of Tests of the Intertemporal Allocation of Consumption to Near-Rational Alternatives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(3), pages 319-337, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:79:y:1989:i:3:p:319-37
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    5. Larry G. Epstein & Stanley E. Zin, 2013. "Substitution, risk aversion and the temporal behavior of consumption and asset returns: A theoretical framework," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Leonard C MacLean & William T Ziemba (ed.), HANDBOOK OF THE FUNDAMENTALS OF FINANCIAL DECISION MAKING Part I, chapter 12, pages 207-239, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    7. John Y. Campbell & Angus Deaton, 1987. "Is Consumption Too Smooth?," NBER Working Papers 2134, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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