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Wage shocks and consumption variability in Mexico during the 1990s

  • Attanasio, Orazio P.
  • Szekely, Miguel

This paper presents evidence on the relationship between economic shocks to relative male wages and changes in household consumption in Mexico during the 1990s, which is a period characterized by high volatility. In addition to performing this type of analysis for Mexico for the first time, the paper makes two main contributions. The first is the use of alternative data sources to construct instrumental variables for wages. The second is to examine differences across four consumption categories: non-durable goods, durable goods, education and health. Our results for non-durable goods consumption reject the hypothesis that Mexican households are able to insure idiosyncratic risk. For the comparisons across consumption categories, the conclusion is that households in Mexico tend to react to temporary shocks by contracting the consumption of goods that represent longer-run investment in human capital, which makes them more vulnerable in the future.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 73 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 1-25

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:73:y:2004:i:1:p:1-25
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  1. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1997. "Consumption, inequality and income uncertainty," IFS Working Papers W97/15, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 1989. "Credit Market Constraints, Consumption Smoothing and the Accumulation of Durable Production Assets in Low-Income Countries: Investments in Bullocks in India," Bulletins 7487, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  3. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1993. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 4328, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Browning, M. & Crossley, T., 1999. "Shocks, Stocks and Socks: Consumption Smoothing and the Replacement of Durables During an Unemployment Spell," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 1999-376, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
  5. Eduardo Fernández-Arias & Ricardo Hausmann, 2000. "The Redesign of the International Financial Architecture from a Latin American Perspective: Who Pays the Bill?," Research Department Publications 4245, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  6. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Are the poor less well insured? Evidence on vulnerability to income risk in rural China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 61-81, February.
  7. Cochrane, John H, 1991. "A Simple Test of Consumption Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 957-76, October.
  8. Attanasio, Orazio & Davis, Steven J, 1996. "Relative Wage Movements and the Distribution of Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1227-62, December.
  9. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-91, May.
  10. Tullio Jappelli & Luigi Pistaferri, 2004. "Intertemporal choice and consumption mobility," 2004 Meeting Papers 195, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. Jacoby, Hanan G & Skoufias, Emmanuel, 1997. "Risk, Financial Markets, and Human Capital in a Developing Country," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 311-35, July.
  12. Orazio Attanasio & Tullio Jappelli, 1998. "Intertemporal Choice and the Cross Sectional Variance of Marginal Utility," CSEF Working Papers 06.1998, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  13. Miguel Székely & Nancy Birdsall & Jere R. Behrman, 2000. "Economics Reform and Wage Differentials in Latin America," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6476, Inter-American Development Bank.
  14. Orazio Attanasio & Gabriella Berloffa & Richard Blundell & Stephen Redding, 2002. "From wages to consumption inequality: tracking shocks," IFS Working Papers W02/20, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  15. Mace, Barbara J, 1991. "Full Insurance in the Presence of Aggregate Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 928-56, October.
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