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Precautionary Saving: An Explanation for Excess Sensitivity of Consumption


  • Normandin, Michel


The permanent income hypothesis under certainty equivalence yields a martingale consumption process. Empirically, this hypothesis is rejected because consumption is excessively sensitive to anticipated income. One approach to account for excess sensitivity is to relax certainty equivalence by using utility functions that induce precautionary saving. This article analyzes a hyperbolic absolute risk-aversion utility function. Empirically, some reasonable parameterizations of this specification allow one to match the excess sensitivity associated with the data. Also, these parameterizations permit one to account for the excess smoothness problem. However, excess sensitivity and excess smoothness do not reflect the same phenomenon.

Suggested Citation

  • Normandin, Michel, 1994. "Precautionary Saving: An Explanation for Excess Sensitivity of Consumption," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 12(2), pages 205-219, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bes:jnlbes:v:12:y:1994:i:2:p:205-19

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Catherine J. Morrison, 1989. "Unraveling the Productivity Growth Slowdown in the U.S., Canada and Japan: The Effects of Subequilibrium, Scale Economies and Markup," NBER Working Papers 2993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Morrison, Catherine J, 1988. "Quasi-Fixed Inputs in U.S. and Japanese Manufacturing: A Generalized Leontief Restricted Cost Function Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(2), pages 275-287, May.
    3. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "The Relation between Price and Marginal Cost in U.S. Industry," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 921-947, October.
    4. Morrison, C. J. & Berndt, E. R., 1981. "Short-run labor productivity in a dynamic model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 339-365, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Normandin, Michel, 1993. "Épargne de précaution et revenu de travail incertain : un survol de la littérature," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 69(4), pages 347-364, décembre.
    2. Christopher D. Carroll & Karen E. Dynan & Spencer D. Krane, 2003. "Unemployment Risk and Precautionary Wealth: Evidence from Households' Balance Sheets," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 586-604, August.
    3. Lage, Maureen J., 1997. "The permanent income hypothesis under permanent-transitory confusion," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 77-90, February.
    4. Siegmann, Arjen, 2002. "Optimal saving rules for loss-averse agents under uncertainty," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 27-34, September.
    5. 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.
    6. Sule Alan, 2004. "Precautionary Wealth and Portfolio Allocation: Evidence from Canadian Microdata," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 117, McMaster University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth


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