The Role of Consumption in Economic Fluctuations
In: The American Business Cycle: Continuity and Change
Consumption and income tend to move together; the correlation of their first differences is about 0.14. In most accounts, the correlation is attributed to the upward slope of the consumption function. When the publicis better off, they consume more. But in the microeconomic theory of the household, income is a variable chosen by the household. Choosing to workmore, and therefore to consume less time away from work, is a sign of diminished well being.The structural relation between earnings and consumption should have a negative slope.The explanation of the observed positive correlation of consumption and income must rest on shifts of the consumption-income relation, not movements along it. An examination of data for the U.S. in the twentieth century shows that the slope of the consumption-income relation has been approximately zero. Shifts in consumer behavior explain the positive observed correlation; they are an important, but not dominant, source of overall fluctuations in the aggregate economy.
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Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Altonji, Joseph G, 1982. "The Intertemporal Substitution Model of Labour Market Fluctuations: An Empirical Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(5), pages 783-824, Special I.
- Barro, Robert J & King, Robert G, 1984.
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The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 99(4), pages 817-39, November.
- Robert J. Barro & Robert G. King, 1982. "Time-Separable Preference and Intertemporal-Substitution Models of Business Cycles," NBER Working Papers 0888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- N. Gregory Mankiw & Julio J. Rotemberg & Lawrence H. Summers, 1982.
"Intertemporal Substitution in Macroeconomics,"
NBER Working Papers
0898, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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