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How important is the stock market effect on consumption?

  • Sydney Ludvigson
  • Charles Steindel

Many argue that the astonishing growth in Americans' stock portfolios in the 1990s has been a major force behind the growth of consumer spending. This article reviews the relationship between stock market movements and consumption. Using various econometric techniques and specifications, the authors find that the propensity to consume out of aggregate household wealth has exhibited instability over the postwar period. They also show that the dynamic response of consumption growth to an unexpected change in wealth is extremely short-lived, implying that forecasts of consumption growth one or more quarters ahead are not typically improved by accounting for changes in existing wealth. Finally, the impact effect of a wealth shock on consumption growth, while statistically positive, is found to be uncertain. Although recent market gains have provided support for consumer spending, the authors' findings are too limited to encourage reliance on estimates of the stock market effect in macroeconomic forecasts.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its journal Economic Policy Review.

Volume (Year): (1999)
Issue (Month): Jul ()
Pages: 29-51

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednep:y:1999:i:jul:p:29-51:n:v.5no.2
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  2. Richard Clarida & Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler, 2000. "Monetary Policy Rules And Macroeconomic Stability: Evidence And Some Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(1), pages 147-180, February.
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  9. Poterba, J.M. & Samwick, A.A., 1996. "Stock Ownership Patterns, Stock Market Fluctuations, and Consumption," Working papers 96-2, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. Flavin, Marjorie A, 1981. "The Adjustment of Consumption to Changing Expectations about Future Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 974-1009, October.
  11. 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.
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