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The Wealthy Hand-to-Mouth

Author

Listed:
  • Greg Kaplan

    (Princeton University)

  • Giovanni L. Violante

    (New York University)

  • Justin Weidner

    (Princeton University)

Abstract

The wealthy hand-to-mouth are households who hold little or no liquid wealth (cash, checking, and savings accounts), despite owning sizable amounts of illiquid assets (assets that carry a transaction cost, such as housing or retirement accounts). We use survey data on household portfolios for the U.S., Canada, Australia, the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, and Spain to document the share of such households across countries, their demographic characteristics, the composition of their balance sheets, and the persistence of hand-to-mouth status over the life cycle. The portfolio configuration of the wealthy hand-to-mouth suggests that these households may have a high marginal propensity to consume out of transitory income changes, a prediction for which we find empirical support in PSID data. We explain the implications of this group of consumers for macroeconomic modeling and fiscal policy analysis.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Greg Kaplan & Giovanni L. Violante & Justin Weidner, 2014. "The Wealthy Hand-to-Mouth," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 45(1 (Spring), pages 77-153.
  • Handle: RePEc:bin:bpeajo:v:45:y:2014:i:2014-01:p:77-153
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    savings; household portfolios; demographics; wealth; macroeconomics; assets; savings;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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