To consume or not: How oil prices affect the comovement of consumption and aggregate wealth
This paper provides insight into how oil price movements affect the consumption choices of U.S. households through the wealth channel. Lettau and Ludvigson (2001) show that while consumption, asset wealth, and labor income share a common long-term trend; they substantially deviate from one another in the short run. In this paper, I show that these transitory deviations can be explained by fluctuations in the price of crude oil. Linear and threshold multivariate autoregressive models are used to measure the oil price effect. Oil price effect on the consumption to aggregate wealth ratio is robust to monetary policy effect, sub-period effect, and econometric specifications of oil price effect. Generally speaking, higher (lower) oil price will lead to a decrease (increase) in the proportion of aggregate wealth consumed. In addition, the magnitude of the oil price effect is asymmetric and sub-period dependent. Oil price effect was higher before the 1980's than in succeeding periods.
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