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Revisiting the effect of household size on consumption over the life-cycle

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  • Bick, Alexander
  • Choi, Sekyu

Abstract

Although the link between household size and consumption has strong empirical support, there is no consistent way in which demographics are dealt with in standard life-cycle models. We study the relationship between the predictions of the Single Agent model (the standard in the literature) versus a simple model extension (the Demographics model) where deterministic changes in household size and composition affect optimal consumption decisions. We show theoretically that the Demographics model is conceptually preferable to the Single Agent model as it captures economic mechanisms ignored by the latter. However, our quantitative analysis demonstrates that differences in predictions for consumption are negligible across models, when using standard calibration strategies. This suggests that it is largely irrelevant which model specification is used.

Suggested Citation

  • Bick, Alexander & Choi, Sekyu, 2013. "Revisiting the effect of household size on consumption over the life-cycle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 2998-3011.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:37:y:2013:i:12:p:2998-3011
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jedc.2013.08.006
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    1. repec:bla:obuest:v:79:y:2017:i:5:p:717-746 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Raül Santaeulàlia-Llopis & Yu Zheng, 2017. "Why Is Food Consumption Inequality Underestimated? A Story of Vices and Children," Working Papers 969, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    3. Thomas H. Jørgensen, 2017. "Life-Cycle Consumption and Children: Evidence from a Structural Estimation," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 79(5), pages 717-746, October.
    4. Thomas H. Jørgensen, 2016. "Euler equation estimation: Children and credit constraints," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 7(3), pages 935-968, November.
    5. Jurgen Faik & Uwe Fachinger, 2013. "The decomposition of well-being categories: An application to Germany," Working Papers 307, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    6. Santaeulàlia-Llopis, Raül ; Zheng, Yu, 2016. "Missing Consumption Inequality: Direct Evidence from Individual Food Data," Economics Working Papers ECO2016/12, European University Institute.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Consumption; Life-cycle models;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • 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
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General

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