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Optimal irrational behavior in continuous time

  • Feigenbaum, James
  • Caliendo, Frank N.

Feigenbaum et al. (2009) showed in a two-period overlapping generations model that households can improve upon the rational, competitive equilibrium while maintaining competitive factor markets if agents coordinate upon an irrational consumption/saving rule. We generalize their findings to continuous time. The optimal consumption rule with coordination implies a U-shaped lifecycle consumption profile. Rational agents living in a standard competitive equilibrium would need a 4% increase of consumption in every period across the lifecycle to reach the level of utility that can be achieved under coordination. Most of this gain can be achieved with a linear saving rule.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control.

Volume (Year): 34 (2010)
Issue (Month): 10 (October)
Pages: 1907-1922

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Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:34:y:2010:i:10:p:1907-1922
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jedc

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  1. James Feigenbaum, 2006. "Precautionary Saving Unfettered," Working Papers 227, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2006.
  2. Findley, T. Scott & Caliendo, Frank N., 2010. "Does it pay to be SMarT?," Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, Cambridge University Press, vol. 9(03), pages 321-344, July.
  3. James Feigenbaum & Frank N. Caliendo & Emin Gahramanov, 2009. "Optimal Irrational Behavior," Economics Series 2009_01, Deakin University, Faculty of Business and Law, School of Accounting, Economics and Finance.
  4. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 2002. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 47-89, January.
  5. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 2003. "Macroeconomic Priorities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 1-14, March.
  6. Feigenbaum, James & Gahramanov, Emin & Tang, Xueli, 2013. "Is it really good to annuitize?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 116-140.
  7. Bullard, James & Feigenbaum, James, 2007. "A leisurely reading of the life-cycle consumption data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2305-2320, November.
  8. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521331586 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Feigenbaum, James, 2008. "Can mortality risk explain the consumption hump?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 844-872, September.
  10. Thurow, Lester C, 1969. "The Optimum Lifetime Distribution of Consumption Expenditures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(3), pages 324-30, June.
  11. Gary D. Hansen & Selahattin Imrohoroglu, 2006. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle: The Role of Annuities," NBER Working Papers 12341, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save More Tomorrow (TM): Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Saving," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages S164-S187, February.
  13. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Life Cycle Consumption and Labor Supply: An Explanation of the Relationship Between Income and Consumption Over the Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(1), pages 188-94, March.
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