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Nonlinear income variance profiles and consumption inequality over the life cycle


  • Abe, Naohito
  • Yamada, Tomoaki


In contrast to many other countries, consumption inequalities in Japan are not constant over household age but increase from around middle age--a fact first highlighted by Ohtake and Saito [Ohtake, F., Saito, M., 1998. Population aging and consumption inequality in Japan. Rev. Income Wealth 44, 361-381]. Given this information, we examine whether this phenomenon is consistent with the standard precautionary saving model developed by Carroll [Carroll, C.D., 1997. Buffer-stock savings and the life cycle/permanent income hypothesis. Quart. J. Econ. 62, 1-56]. Specifically, we investigate: (1) the degree of age dependence of idiosyncratic income risks; and (2) the importance of age dependence for the evolution of inequalities in consumption predicted by the household model of Carroll (1997). We find a strong age dependence of income risks, which creates a nonlinear age-variance profile of income, and the standard precautionary saving model is consistent with the observed consumption inequalities as long as we take the nonlinearity in age-variance profiles of income into account.

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  • Abe, Naohito & Yamada, Tomoaki, 2009. "Nonlinear income variance profiles and consumption inequality over the life cycle," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 344-366, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jjieco:v:23:y:2009:i:3:p:344-366

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kosuke Aoki & Alexander Michaelides & Kalin Nikolov, 2016. "Household Portfolios in a Secular Stagnation World: Evidence from Japan," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 16-E-4, Bank of Japan.
    2. Yamada, Tomoaki, 2013. "Cross-sectional Facts in Japan using Keio Household Panel Survey," MPRA Paper 49813, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Yamada, Tomoaki, 2012. "Income risk, macroeconomic and demographic change, and economic inequality in Japan," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 63-84.
    4. Yamada, Tomoaki, 2011. "A politically feasible social security reform with a two-tier structure," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 199-224, September.
    5. Tomoaki Yamada & Minchung Hsu & Gary D. Hansen, 2011. "Financing Health Care in Japan: The Impact of an Aging Population," 2011 Meeting Papers 717, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Masakatsu Okubo, 2015. "Earnings Dynamics and Profile Heterogeneity: Estimates from Japanese Panel Data," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 66(1), pages 112-146, March.
    7. Aleksandra Urbaniec, 2012. "Life cycle income and consumption patterns in transition," EcoMod2012 4457, EcoMod.
    8. HSU Minchung & YAMADA Tomoaki, 2017. "Population Aging, Health Care, and Fiscal Policy Reform: The challenges for Japan," Discussion papers 17038, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    9. Aleksandra Kolasa, 2012. "Life Cycle Income and Consumption Patterns in Transition," Working Papers 2012-17, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    10. Naohito Abe & Noriko Inakura & Tomoaki Yamada, 2007. "Consumption, Working Hours, and Wealth Determination in a Life Cycle Model," Bank of Japan Working Paper Series 07-E-14, Bank of Japan.
    11. repec:psc:journl:v:9:y:2017:i:2:p:137-172 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Tomoaki Yamada, 2009. "Persistence of income shocks and consumption inequality: A case in Japan," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(4), pages 2822-2831.

    More about this item


    Income risk Buffer stock savings Consumption inequality Method of simulated moments;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth


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