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Did US consumers ‘save for a rainy day’ before the Great Recession?

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  • André K. Anundsen

    (Norges Bank (Central Bank of Norway))

  • Ragnar Nymoen

    (Economic Analysis Norway - Center for Wage formation and University of Oslo)

Abstract

The 'saving for a rainy day' hypothesis implies that households' saving decisions reflect that they can (rationally) predict future income declines. The empirical relevance of this hypothesis plays a key role in discussions of fiscal policy multipliers and it holds under the null that the permanent income hypothesis is true. We find mixed support for this hypothesis using time series data for the 100 largest US Metropolitan Statistical Areas, as well as aggregate macro time series, for the period 1980q1-2011q4. That is, income is more often found to predict consumption and saving than the converse. Our modus operandi is to investigate the 'saving for a rainy day' hypothesis by testing (weak) exogeneity of income and consumption and by exploring the direction of Granger causality between the two series. We also give evidence that house price changes played a role in the US income and consumption dynamics, before, during and after the Great Recession.

Suggested Citation

  • André K. Anundsen & Ragnar Nymoen, 2015. "Did US consumers ‘save for a rainy day’ before the Great Recession?," Working Paper 2015/08, Norges Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:bno:worpap:2015_08
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Cointegration; Consumption; Granger causality; Permanent income hypothesis; Household saving;

    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • C51 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Construction and Estimation
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

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