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Consumption, Wealth, and Indebtedness in the Context of Uncertainty: The Consumption Function Meets Portfolio Theory

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  • David Bywaters

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  • D. Thomas

Abstract

The objective of this paper is to provide a sound theoretical framework for the empirical analysis of consumer indebtedness, by integrating Portfolio theory with the Life-Cycle hypothesis (LCH) model of consumption. Modern versions of this LCH theory almost always assume that utility is additive over time, but in this study, the multiplicative Cobb–Douglas function is used. The new synthesis also explains the stochastic properties of consumption more fully and clearly than previous studies, in particular the uncertainty arising from rates of return on risky assets. The new theory will also help to improve the explanation of the surprise changes in consumption because these sources of risk are incorporated explicitly into the analysis. Copyright IAES 2006

Suggested Citation

  • David Bywaters & D. Thomas, 2006. "Consumption, Wealth, and Indebtedness in the Context of Uncertainty: The Consumption Function Meets Portfolio Theory," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 12(3), pages 298-307, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:iaecre:v:12:y:2006:i:3:p:298-307:10.1007/s11294-006-9018-2
    DOI: 10.1007/s11294-006-9018-2
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Caballero, Ricardo J., 1990. "Consumption puzzles and precautionary savings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 113-136, January.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    D11; E21; G11;

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions

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