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Saving on a Rainy Day, Borrowing for a Rainy Day

Author

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  • Alan, S.
  • Crossley, T.
  • Low, H.

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to understand what a recession means for individual consumers, and to model in a life-cycle framework how individuals respond to recessions. Our focus is on the sharp increase in savings rates that have been observed in the current and recent recessions. We show empirically that these saving spikes were short-lived and common to all working age groups. We then study life-cycle models in which recessions involve one or more of: (i) an aggregate permanent negative shock to individual income; (ii) an increase in the variance of idiosyncratic permanent shocks; (iii) a tightening of credit constraints; (iv) asset market crashes. In simulations and in the data we aggregate explicitly from individual behavior. We model credit tightening as a constraint on new borrowing and this generates an option value of borrowing in good times. We show that the rise in the aggregate savings ratio is driven by increases in uncertainty, rather than tightening of credit; temporary shocks to the supply of credit generate increases in saving only among younger agents.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan, S. & Crossley, T. & Low, H., 2012. "Saving on a Rainy Day, Borrowing for a Rainy Day," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1222, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:1222
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christelis, Dimitris & Georgarakos, Dimitris & Jappelli, Tullio, 2015. "Wealth shocks, unemployment shocks and consumption in the wake of the Great Recession," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 21-41.
    2. Ashoka Mody & Franziska Ohnsorge & Damiano Sandri, 2012. "Precautionary Savings in the Great Recession," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 60(1), pages 114-138, April.
    3. Rajashri Chakrabarti & Donghoon Lee & Wilbert van der Klaauw & Basit Zafar, 2013. "Household Debt and Saving during the 2007 Recession," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring Wealth and Financial Intermediation and Their Links to the Real Economy, pages 273-322 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Veronica Guerrieri & Guido Lorenzoni, 2017. "Credit Crises, Precautionary Savings, and the Liquidity Trap," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 132(3), pages 1427-1467.
    5. Christopher Carroll & Martin Sommer & Jiri Slacalek, 2012. "Dissecting Saving Dynamics; Measuring Wealth, Precautionary, and Credit Effects," IMF Working Papers 12/219, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley & Melanie Lührmann, 2016. "Durable Purchases over the Later Life Cycle," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 78(2), pages 145-169, April.
    7. Jose-Victor Rios Rull & Jonathan Heathcote & Dirk Krueger & Andy Glover, 2011. "Intergenerational Redistribution in the Great Recession," 2011 Meeting Papers 141, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & David Benson, 2012. "Consumption and the Great Recession," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q I, pages 1-16.
    9. Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Rare Disasters and Asset Markets in the Twentieth Century," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 823-866.
    10. Orazio Attanasio & Renata Bottazzi & Hamish Low & Lars Nesheim & Matthew Wakefield, 2012. "Modelling the Demand for Housing over the Lifecycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(1), pages 1-18, January.
    11. Nicholas Bloom, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, May.
    12. Francisco Gomes & Alexander Michaelides, 2005. "Optimal Life-Cycle Asset Allocation: Understanding the Empirical Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(2), pages 869-904, April.
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    14. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-445, March.
    15. Thomas F. Crossley & Hamish W. Low, 2014. "Job Loss, Credit Constraints, and Consumption Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(5), pages 876-884, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Demyanyk, Yuliya & Luengo-Prado, Maria Jose & Hryshko, Dmytro & Sorensen, Bent E., 2015. "The Rise and Fall of Consumption in the 2000s," Working Papers (Old Series) 1507, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    2. Christopher Carroll & Martin Sommer & Jiri Slacalek, 2012. "Dissecting Saving Dynamics; Measuring Wealth, Precautionary, and Credit Effects," IMF Working Papers 12/219, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Apergis, Nicholas, 2015. "Financial portfolio choice: Do business cycle regimes matter? Panel evidence from international household surveys," Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 14-27.
    4. André K. Anundsen & Ragnar Nymoen, 2015. "Did US consumers ‘save for a rainy day’ before the Great Recession?," Working Paper 2015/08, Norges Bank.
    5. Bram De Rock & Bart Capéau, 2015. "The implications of household size and children for life-cycle saving," Working Paper Research 286, National Bank of Belgium.
    6. Andersen, Asger Lau & Duus, Charlotte & Jensen, Thais Lærkholm, 2016. "Household debt and spending during the financial crisis: Evidence from Danish micro data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 96-115.
    7. Rodney Ramcharan & Amir Kermani & Marco Di Maggio, 2015. "Monetary Policy Pass-Through: Household Consumption and Voluntary Deleveraging," 2015 Meeting Papers 256, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Adema, Yvonne & Pozzi, Lorenzo, 2015. "Business cycle fluctuations and household saving in OECD countries: A panel data analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 214-233.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    credit constraints; savings; recessions; uncertainty;

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises

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