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Representing Consumption and Saving without A Representative Consumer

In: Measuring Economic Sustainability and Progress

  • Christopher D. Carroll

The Great Recession confirmed a bedrock principle of modern consumption theory: It is impossible to explain aggregate spending behavior without knowledge of the underlying microeconomic distribution of circumstances and choices across households. National accounting frameworks therefore need to be augmented by "bottom up" measures that both (a) capture the microeconomic heterogeneity (in expenditures, income, assets, debt, and beliefs) in the population and (b) sum up to statistics that have a recognizable relationship to the aggregate totals that are already reasonably well measured.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Dale W. Jorgenson & J. Steven Landefeld & Paul Schreyer, 2014. "Measuring Economic Sustainability and Progress," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number jorg12-1, October.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 12830.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12830
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. Mark Bils & Mark Aguiar, 2010. "Has Consumption Inequality Mirrored Income Inequality?," 2010 Meeting Papers 1334, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2009. "Five Decades of Consumption and Income Poverty," Working Papers 0907, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    3. David Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 2005. "Estimating Discount Functions with Consumption Choices over the Lifecycle," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000643, UCLA Department of Economics.
    4. Milton Friedman, 1957. "Introduction to "A Theory of the Consumption Function"," NBER Chapters, in: A Theory of the Consumption Function, pages 1-6 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Christopher Carroll & Jiri Slacalek & Martin Sommer, 2012. "Dissecting Saving Dynamics: Measuring Wealth, Precautionary, and Credit Effects," Economics Working Paper Archive 602, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
    6. Carroll, Christopher D. & Slacalek, Jiri & Tokuoka, Kiichi, 2015. "Buffer-stock saving in a Krusell–Smith world," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 97-100.
    7. Claus Thustrup Kreiner & David Dreyer Lassen & Søren Leth-Petersen, 2013. "Measuring the Accuracy of Survey Responses using Administrative Register Data: Evidence from Denmark," NBER Working Papers 19539, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Gianluca Violante & Greg Kaplan, 2011. "A Model of the Consumption Response to Fiscal Stimulus Payments," 2011 Meeting Papers 243, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Jonathan A. Parker & Nicholas S. Souleles & David S. Johnson & Robert McClelland, 2013. "Consumer Spending and the Economic Stimulus Payments of 2008," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2530-53, October.
    10. Charles Himmelberg & Christopher Mayer & Todd Sinai, 2005. "Assessing High House Prices: Bubbles, Fundamentals, and Misperceptions," NBER Working Papers 11643, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1, October.
    12. Jason DeBacker & Bradley Heim & Vasia Panousi & Shanthi Ramnath & Ivan Vidangos, 2013. "Rising Inequality: Transitory or Persistent? New Evidence from a Panel of U.S. Tax Returns," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 46(1 (Spring), pages 67-142.
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