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Financial expectations, consumption and saving: a microeconomic analysis

  • Sarah Brown
  • Karl Taylor

We explore the determinants of individuals' financial expectations using data from the British Household Panel Survey, 1991-2003. Our findings suggest that individuals' financial predictions are influenced by both the life cycle and the business cycle. We also investigate the extent to which the accuracy of past financial expectations affects current financial expectations. Regardless of the accuracy of the prediction, past financial optimism has a positive effect on current expectations formation whilst past financial pessimism has a negative effect. We also explore the relationship between financial realisations and expectations and we find that expectations tend to fall short of financial realisations. Finally, we investigate how financial expectations influence saving and consumption. Our findings suggest that financial optimism is inversely associated with saving and that current financial expectations serve to predict future consumption.

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Article provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its journal Fiscal Studies.

Volume (Year): 27 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 313-338

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Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:27:y:2006:i:3:p:313-338
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  1. Souleles, Nicholas S, 2004. "Expectations, Heterogeneous Forecast Errors, and Consumption: Micro Evidence from the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Surveys," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 36(1), pages 39-72, February.
  2. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1994. "Using Expectations Data to Study Subjective Income Expectations," NBER Working Papers 4937, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1992. "Earnings Uncertainty and Precautionary Saving," CEPR Discussion Papers 699, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. OR Attanasio & J Banks, 2001. "The assessment: household saving - issues in theory and policy," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 1-19, Spring.
  5. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1996. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1797-1855, December.
  6. Acemoglu, Daron & Scott, Andrew, 1994. "Consumer Confidence and Rational Expectations: Are Agents' Beliefs Consistent with the Theory?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(422), pages 1-19, January.
  7. Das, J.W.M. & van Soest, A.H.O., 1996. "A Panel Data Model for Subjective Information on Household Income Growth," Discussion Paper 1996-75, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  8. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1996. "Income Risk, Borrowing Constraints, and Portfolio Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 158-72, March.
  9. Sarah Brown & Karl Taylor & Gaia Garino & Stephen Wheatley Price, 2003. "Debt and financial expectations: an individual and household level analysis," Discussion Papers in Economics 03/5, Department of Economics, University of Leicester, revised Feb 2004.
  10. Alessandra Guariglia, 2001. "Saving behaviour and earnings uncertainty: Evidence from the British Household Panel Survey," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 619-634.
  11. Carroll, Christopher D & Fuhrer, Jeffrey C & Wilcox, David W, 1994. "Does Consumer Sentiment Forecast Household Spending? If So, Why?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1397-1408, December.
  12. repec:att:wimass:8905 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Measuring Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1329-1376, 09.
  14. Lusardi, Annamaria, 1998. "On the Importance of the Precautionary Saving Motive," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 449-53, May.
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