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Do households smooth expenditure over anticipated income changes? Evidence from bonus payments to public employees in Japan

  • Hori, Masahiro
  • Shimizutani, Satoshi

This paper provides new evidence of consumers’ reaction to an anticipated sizable change in income. Until FY2002, Japanese public employees received predictable large bonus payments three times a fiscal year (in June, December, and March), but the March bonus was abolished in FY2003. We compare the seasonal patterns of public employees’ expenditure before and after the reform of the bonus payment schedule. Contrary to the prediction of the life cycle/permanent income hypothesis (LC/PIH), we find evidence that monthly patterns of household expenditure were significantly affected by the anticipated large change in income pattern. However, at closer inspection, this excess sensitivity of expenditure is observed only for expenditure subcategories of some durability, i.e., durables and semi-durables. Thus, while the LC/PIH does not appear to hold for expenditure (which we observe here), it may still hold for consumption.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of the Japanese and International Economies.

Volume (Year): 26 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 405-433

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jjieco:v:26:y:2012:i:3:p:405-433
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622903

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  1. M. Dolores Collado & Martín Browning, 1999. "-The Response Of Expenditures To Anticipated Income Changes: Panel Data Estimates," Working Papers. Serie AD 1999-19, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  2. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Consumption, Income and Interest Rates: Reinterpreting the Time Series Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 185-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Nicholas S. Souleles, 1999. "The Response of Household Consumption to Income Tax Refunds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 947-958, September.
  4. David S. Johnson & Jonathan A. Parker & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2004. "Household Expenditure and the Income Tax Rebates of 2001," Working Papers 136, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics..
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  7. Stephens, Melvin & Unayama, Takashi, 2012. "The impact of retirement on household consumption in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 62-83.
  8. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Melvin Stephens, 2008. "The Consumption Response to Predictable Changes in Discretionary Income: Evidence from the Repayment of Vehicle Loans," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 241-252, May.
  10. Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2003. "Consumer Response to Tax Rebates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 381-396, March.
  11. Melvin Stephens & Takashi Unayama, 2011. "The Consumption Response to Seasonal Income: Evidence from Japanese Public Pension Benefits," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 86-118, October.
  12. Shimizutani, Satoshi, 2006. "Consumer response to the 1998 tax cut: Is a temporary tax cut effective?," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 269-287, June.
  13. Souleles, Nicholas S., 2002. "Consumer response to the Reagan tax cuts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 99-120, July.
  14. Paxson, Christina H, 1993. "Consumption and Income Seasonality in Thailand," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 39-72, February.
  15. Hori Masahiro & Shimizutani Satoshi, 2009. "The Response of Household Expenditure to Anticipated Income Changes: Bonus Payments and the Seasonality of Consumption in Japan," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-22, August.
  16. Brahima Coulibaly & Geng Li, 2006. "Do Homeowners Increase Consumption after the Last Mortgage Payment? An Alternative Test of the Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 10-19, February.
  17. Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "The Reaction of Household Consumption to Predictable Changes in Social Security Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 959-973, September.
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