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The rigidity of choice: Lifecycle savings with information-processing limits

  • Antonella Tutino

This paper studies the implications of information-processing limits on the consumption and savings behavior of households through time. It presents a dynamic model in which consumers rationally choose the size and scope of the information they want to process concerning their financial possibilities, constrained by a Shannon channel. The model predicts that people with higher degrees of risk aversion rationally choose more information. This happens for precautionary reasons since, with finite processing rate, risk averse consumers prefer to be well informed about their financial possibilities before implementing a consumption plan. Moreover, numerical results show that consumers with processing capacity constraints have asymmetric responses to shocks, with negative shocks producing more persistent effects than positive ones. This asymmetry results in more savings. I show that the predictions of the model can be effectively used to study the impact of tax reforms on consumers spending.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2008-62.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2008-62
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  1. Christopher D. Carroll, 2003. "Macroeconomic Expectations of Households and Professional Forecasters," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 269-298.
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  13. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis & Justin Wolfers, 2004. "Disagreement about Inflation Expectations," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2003, Volume 18, pages 209-270 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1973. "Some International Evidence on Output-Inflation Tradeoffs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 326-34, June.
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  16. Frank Smets & Raf Wouters, 2003. "An Estimated Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Model of the Euro Area," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1123-1175, 09.
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  27. repec:fth:harver:1466 is not listed on IDEAS
  28. Aoki, Kosuke, 2003. "On the optimal monetary policy response to noisy indicators," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 501-523, April.
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  30. Andrea Wilson, 2003. "Bounded Memory and Biases in Information Processing," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 234936000000000070, www.najecon.org.
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