Testing and imposing Slutsky symmetry in nonparametric demand systems
Maximization of utility implies that consumer demand systems have a Slutsky matrix which is everywhere symmetric. However, previous non- and semi-parametric approaches to the estimation of consumer demand systems do not give estimators that are restricted to satisfy this condition, nor do they offer powerful tests of this restriction. We use nonparametric modeling to test and impose Slutsky symmetry in a system of expenditure share equations over prices and expenditure. In this context, Slutsky symmetry is a set of nonlinear cross-equation restrictions on levels and derivatives of consumer demand equations. The key insight is that due to the differing convergence rates of levels and derivatives and due to the fact that the symmetry restrictions are linear in derivatives, both the test and the symmetry restricted estimator behave asymptotically as if these restrictions were (locally) linear. We establish large and finite sample properties of our methods, and show that our test has advantages over the only other comparable test. All methods we propose are implemented with Canadian micro-data. We find that our nonparametric analysis yields statistically significantly and qualitatively different results from traditional parametric estimators and tests.
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