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On the distributional properties of household consumption expenditures: the case of Italy

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  • Giorgio Fagiolo

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  • Lucia Alessi
  • Matteo Barigozzi
  • Marco Capasso

Abstract

In this paper we explore the statistical properties of the distributions of consumption expenditures for a large sample of Italian households in the period 1989-2004. Goodness-of-fit tests show that household aggregate (and age-conditioned) consumption distributions are not log-normal. Rather, their logs can be invariably characterized by asymmetric exponential-power densities. Departures from log-normality are mainly due to the presence of thick lower tails coexisting with upper tails thinner than Gaussian ones. The emergence of this irreducible heterogeneity in statistical patterns casts some doubts on the attempts to explain log-normality of household consumption patterns by means of simple models based on Gibrat's Law applied to permanent income and marginal utility.
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Suggested Citation

  • Giorgio Fagiolo & Lucia Alessi & Matteo Barigozzi & Marco Capasso, 2010. "On the distributional properties of household consumption expenditures: the case of Italy," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 717-741, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:empeco:v:38:y:2010:i:3:p:717-741
    DOI: 10.1007/s00181-009-0287-5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Matteo Barigozzi & Alessio Moneta, 2016. "Identifying the Independent Sources of Consumption Variation," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(2), pages 420-449, March.
    2. Barigozzi, Matteo & Alessi, Lucia & Capasso, Marco & Fagiolo, Giorgio, 2012. "The distribution of household consumption-expenditure budget shares," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 69-91.
    3. Chatterjee, Arnab & Chakrabarti, Anindya S. & Ghosh, Asim & Chakraborti, Anirban & Nandi, Tushar K., 2016. "Invariant features of spatial inequality in consumption: The case of India," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 442(C), pages 169-181.
    4. Matteo Barigozzi & Lucia Alessi & Marco Capasso & Giorgio Fagiolo, 2008. "The Distribution of Consumption-Expenditure Budget Shares. Evidence from Italian Households," LEM Papers Series 2008/18, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    5. Alfarano, Simone & Milaković, Mishael & Irle, Albrecht & Kauschke, Jonas, 2012. "A statistical equilibrium model of competitive firms," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 136-149.
    6. Matteo Barigozzi & Biagio Speciale, 2011. "Immigrants' legal status, permanence in the destination country and the distribution of consumption expenditure," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(14), pages 1341-1347.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Consumption; Asymmetric exponential-power distribution; Income distribution; Log-normal distribution; Gibrat’s law; D3; D12; C12;

    JEL classification:

    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • C12 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Hypothesis Testing: General

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