Smooth it Like the 'Joneses'? Estimating Peer-Group Effects in Intertemporal Consumption Choice
Recent theoretical contributions have suggested peer-group effects as a potential explanation for several puzzles in macroeconomics but their empirical relevance for intertemporal consumption choice is an open question. We derive an extension of the standard life-cycle model that allows for consumption externalities. In this framework, we propose a social multiplier approach to distinguish true externalities from merely correlated effects. Estimating our model using US panel data, we find strong predictable co-movement of household consumption within peer groups. Although much of this co-movement reflects correlated effects only, there is statistically significant evidence for moderate consumption externalities across several plausible peer-group specifications. Copyright © 2008 The Author(s).
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Volume (Year): 118 (2008)
Issue (Month): 527 (03)
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