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Consumption and saving behaviour: modelling recent trends

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  • Orazio Attanasio

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London)

Abstract

This paper illustrates recent trends in household consumption and personal savings in the UK and the US and discusses some theoretical models that can be used to interpret them. The trends in these two countries are interesting for several reasons. The decline in personal saving rates in the US during the 1980s is an unresolved puzzle. The corresponding variable in the UK has undergone large fluctuations, as have several other variables ranging from projected demographic trends to female labour supply. This paper stresses the need to analyse individual data to shed some light on these aggregate trends. It also stresses the need to have a sound structural model to interpret observed patterns in the data. The theoretical framework discussed throughout the paper is the life-cycle model, which views consumption and saving decisions as part of a dynamic optimisation process. The development of the model and the current research agenda and ways that it can be enriched with various degrees of sophistication are discussed. Particular attention is devoted to the discussion of the most recent developments.

Suggested Citation

  • Orazio Attanasio, 1997. "Consumption and saving behaviour: modelling recent trends," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 18(1), pages 23-47, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:18:y:1997:i:1:p:23-47
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    File URL: http://www.ifs.org.uk/fs/articles/fsorazi.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Banks, James & Blundell, Richard & Preston, Ian, 1994. "Life-cycle expenditure allocations and the consumption costs of children," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1391-1410, August.
    7. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
    8. Attanasio, Orazio P & Browning, Martin, 1995. "Consumption over the Life Cycle and over the Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1118-1137, December.
    9. Thurow, Lester C, 1969. "The Optimum Lifetime Distribution of Consumption Expenditures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(3), pages 324-330, June.
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    11. Browning, Martin & Deaton, Angus & Irish, Margaret, 1985. "A Profitable Approach to Labor Supply and Commodity Demands over the Life-Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(3), pages 503-543, May.
    12. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-442, June.
    13. Orazio Attanasio & James Banks, 1998. "Trends in household saving: a tale of two countries," IFS Working Papers W98/15, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Orazio Attanasio & Margherita Borella, 2006. "Stochastic Components of Individual Consumption: A Time Series Analysis of Grouped Data," NBER Working Papers 12456, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Caporale, Guglielmo Maria & Williams, Geoffrey, 2001. "Monetary Policy and Financial Liberalization: The Case of United Kingdom Consumption," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-197, April.
    3. Andersson, Björn, 1999. "On the Causality Between Saving and Growth: Long- and Short-Run Dynamics and Country Heterogeneity," Working Paper Series 1999:18, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    4. Paulo Santos Monteiro, 2007. "Family Labor Supply, Precautionary Behavior, Aggregate Saving and Employment," 2007 Meeting Papers 180, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Hernandez Martinez, Fernando, 2007. "El ahorro privado de las familias y las pensiones públicas en Alemania y Estados Unidos:¿cumplimiento de la hipótesis del ciclo vital?
      [Household private saving and public pensions in Germany and t
      ," MPRA Paper 18044, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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