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The Spirit of Capitalism, Precautionary Savings, and Consumption


Recent research has shown that the "spirit of capitalism"-a preference for wealth itself, in addition to consumption-has important implications for growth and asset pricing. This paper explores how the spirit of capitalism affects saving and consumption behavior. We demonstrate that the spirit of capitalism may reduce the importance of precautionary savings. It can also explain the excess sensitivity puzzle: the spirit of capitalism causes dramatic deviations from a random walk. It may also offer a partial explanation of the excess smoothness puzzle. Copyright (c) 2009 The Ohio State University.

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Article provided by Blackwell Publishing in its journal Journal of Money, Credit and Banking.

Volume (Year): 41 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (03)
Pages: 543-554

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Handle: RePEc:mcb:jmoncb:v:41:y:2009:i:2-3:p:543-554
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  1. Campbell, John Y., 1994. "Inspecting the mechanism: An analytical approach to the stochastic growth model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 463-506, June.
  2. Zou, Heng-fu, 1994. "'The spirit of capitalism' and long-run growth," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 279-293, July.
  3. Gourinchas, P.O. & Parker, J.A., 1997. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," Working papers 9722, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  4. Liutang Gong & Heng-fu Zou, 2001. "Direct preferences for wealth, the risk premium puzzle, growth, and policy effectiveness," CEMA Working Papers 53, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  5. Eric R. Young, 2004. "The Wealth Distribution and the Demand for Status," Macroeconomics 0410008, EconWPA.
  6. Heng-fu Zou, 1995. "The spirit of capitalism and savings behavior," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 131-143, September.
  7. Liutang Gong & Heng-fu Zou, 2001. "Money, social status, and capital accumulation in a cash-in-advance model," CEMA Working Papers 55, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  8. Campbell, John Y & Deaton, Angus, 1989. "Why Is Consumption So Smooth?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 357-73, July.
  9. Wang, Neng, 2006. "Generalizing the permanent-income hypothesis: Revisiting Friedman's conjecture on consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 737-752, May.
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