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Earnings and Consumption Dynamics: A Nonlinear Panel Data Framework

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  • Manuel Arellano
  • Richard Blundell
  • Stéphane Bonhomme

Abstract

We develop a new quantile‐based panel data framework to study the nature of income persistence and the transmission of income shocks to consumption. Log‐earnings are the sum of a general Markovian persistent component and a transitory innovation. The persistence of past shocks to earnings is allowed to vary according to the size and sign of the current shock. Consumption is modeled as an age‐dependent nonlinear function of assets, unobservable tastes, and the two earnings components. We establish the nonparametric identification of the nonlinear earnings process and of the consumption policy rule. Exploiting the enhanced consumption and asset data in recent waves of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we find that the earnings process features nonlinear persistence and conditional skewness. We confirm these results using population register data from Norway. We then show that the impact of earnings shocks varies substantially across earnings histories, and that this nonlinearity drives heterogeneous consumption responses. The framework provides new empirical measures of partial insurance in which the transmission of income shocks to consumption varies systematically with assets, the level of the shock, and the history of past shocks.

Suggested Citation

  • Manuel Arellano & Richard Blundell & Stéphane Bonhomme, 2017. "Earnings and Consumption Dynamics: A Nonlinear Panel Data Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 85, pages 693-734, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:emetrp:v:85:y:2017:i::p:693-734
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    1. repec:red:issued:16-340 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Mariacristina De Nardi & Giulio Fella, 2017. "Saving and Wealth Inequality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 26, pages 280-300, October.
    3. Peter Levell & Barra Roantree & Jonathan Shaw, 2016. "Mobility and the lifetime distributional impact of tax and transfer reforms," IFS Working Papers W16/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    4. Arifur Rahman, 2017. "Heterogeneous labor earning shock process in finite horizon," LIS Working papers 721, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    5. Robert A. Moffitt & Sisi Zhang, 2018. "Income Volatility and the PSID: Past Research and New Results," NBER Working Papers 24390, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    7. repec:aea:apandp:v:108:y:2018:p:277-80 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Robert Moffitt & Sisi Zhang, 2018. "Income Volatility and the PSID: Past Research and New Results," Working Papers 2018-016, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    9. Arifur Rahman, 2018. "Equitable Redistribution without Taxation: A lesson from East Asian Miracle countries," LIS Working papers 726, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
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    14. Sanchez, Manuel & Wellschmied, Felix, 2017. "Modeling Life-Cycle Earnings Risk with Positive and Negative Shocks," IZA Discussion Papers 10925, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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