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Franco Modigliani e la teoria del ciclo vitale del consumo


  • Angus Deaton

    () (Princeton University, Research Program in Development Studies e Center for Health and Wellbeing, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton (USA))


In the early '50s, Franco Modigliani and his student Richard Brumberg elaborated a theory of expenditure based on the idea that individuals make smart choices about how they want to spend at any age, with the only limit of the available resources in the course of their lives. Through the accumulation and decumulation of assets, those who work can provide for their own retirement and, more generally, can adapt their consumption patterns to the needs that arise at different ages, regardless of income available in every moment of his life. This simple theory leads to predictions relevant and not discounted for the economy as a whole, for example, that national saving depends on the rate of growth of national income and not on his level, and there is a simple relationship between the level of wealth in the economic system and the length of time spent in retirement. These forecasts, not verifiable in the '50s, they found considerable empirical support in the subsequent work of Modigliani and other researchers. Although over the years the theory of consumption has suffered numerous attacks, the most recent of which are driven by a coalition of psychologists and economists, the hypothesis of the life cycle remains an essential part of the thinking of economists. Without it we would have much less to say about many important issues, such as providing public and private social security, the effects of the stock market on the economy, the impact of demographic change on national savings, the role of saving in economic growth and the determinants of national wealth.

Suggested Citation

  • Angus Deaton, 2005. "Franco Modigliani e la teoria del ciclo vitale del consumo," Moneta e Credito, Economia civile, vol. 58(230-231), pages 97-115.
  • Handle: RePEc:psl:moneta:2005:28

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-987, December.
    2. Modigliani, Franco, 1988. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers and Life Cycle Saving in the Accumulation of Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 15-40, Spring.
    3. Banks, James & Blundell, Richard & Tanner, Sarah, 1998. "Is There a Retirement-Savings Puzzle?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 769-788, September.
    4. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
    5. Deaton, Angus, 1991. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1221-1248, September.
    6. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 2002. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 47-89, January.
    7. Harris, Christopher & Laibson, David, 2001. "Dynamic Choices of Hyperbolic Consumers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 935-957, July.
    8. Barnett, William A. & Solow, Robert, 2000. "An Interview With Franco Modigliani," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(02), pages 222-256, June.
    9. Christopher D. Carroll, 1997. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 1-55.
    10. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard Thaler, 2004. "Save more tomorrow: Using behavioral economics to increase employee saving," Natural Field Experiments 00337, The Field Experiments Website.
    11. Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1988. "Intergenerational Transfers and Savings," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 41-58, Spring.
    12. Christopher D. Carroll & Lawrence H. Summers, 1991. "Consumption Growth Parallels Income Growth: Some New Evidence," NBER Chapters,in: National Saving and Economic Performance, pages 305-348 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. 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.
    14. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
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    More about this item


    Franco Modigliani; verifiche empiriche; ciclo vitale; Keynes; disoccupazione; teoria della spesa;

    JEL classification:

    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth


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