IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

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.

in new window

Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2008-62
Contact details of provider: Postal: 20th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20551
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web:

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. Jordi Mondria, 2006. "Financial Contagion and Attention Allocation," Working Papers tecipa-254, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  2. Mankiw, N. Gregory & Reis, Ricardo & Wolfers, Justin, 2003. "Disagreement about Inflation Expectations," Research Papers 1807, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  3. 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.
  4. Hellwig, Christian & Veldkamp, Laura, 2007. "Knowing What Others Know: Coordination Motives in Information Acquisition," CEPR Discussion Papers 6506, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Aoki, Kosuke, 2003. "On the optimal monetary policy response to noisy indicators," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 501-523, April.
  6. Flavin, Marjorie A, 1981. "The Adjustment of Consumption to Changing Expectations about Future Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 974-1009, October.
  7. 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.
  8. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1999. "The Cyclical Behavior of Prices and Costs," NBER Working Papers 6909, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Frank Smets & Rafael Wouters, 2007. "Shocks and Frictions in US Business Cycles: A Bayesian DSGE Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 586-606, June.
  10. N. Gregory Mankiw & Ricardo Reis, 2001. "Sticky information versus sticky prices: a proposal to replace the New-Keynesian Phillips curve," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
  11. David S. Johnson & Jonathan A. Parker & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2004. "Household Expenditure and the Income Tax Rebates of 2001," NBER Working Papers 10784, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Kurt Lewis, 2009. "The Two-Period Rational Inattention Model: Accelerations and Analyses," Computational Economics, Society for Computational Economics, vol. 33(1), pages 79-97, February.
  13. Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "The Reaction of Household Consumption to Predictable Changes in Social Security Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 959-973, September.
  14. Andrea Wilson, 2003. "Bounded Memory and Biases in Information Processing," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 234936000000000070,
  15. Reis, Ricardo, 2005. "Inattentive Consumers," CEPR Discussion Papers 5053, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. repec:oup:qjecon:v:118:y:2003:i:1:p:269-298 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Laura Veldkamp, 2003. "Learning Asymmetries in Real Business Cycles," Working Papers 03-21, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  18. Stephen Morris & Hyun Song Shin, 2002. "Social Value of Public Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1521-1534, December.
  19. Karen E. Dynan, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumer Preferences: Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 391-406, June.
  20. John H. Cochrane, 1988. "The Sensitivity of Tests of the Intertemporal Allocation of Consumption to Near-Rational Alternatives," NBER Working Papers 2730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Jinill Kim & Sunghyun Henry Kim & Ernst Schaumburg & Christopher A. Sims, 2003. "Calculating and using second order accurate solutions of discrete time dynamic equilibrium models," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-61, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  22. Guido Lorenzoni, 2006. "Demand Shocks and Monetary Policy," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 524, Society for Computational Economics.
  23. Orphanides, Athanasios, 2003. "Monetary policy evaluation with noisy information," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 605-631, April.
  24. Peng, Lin, 2005. "Learning with Information Capacity Constraints," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 40(02), pages 307-329, June.
  25. Moscarini, Giuseppe, 2004. "Limited information capacity as a source of inertia," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(10), pages 2003-2035, September.
  26. repec:fth:harver:1466 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
  28. repec:oup:qjecon:v:104:y:1989:i:2:p:275-98 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. Alvarez, Fernando & Stokey, Nancy L., 1998. "Dynamic Programming with Homogeneous Functions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 167-189, September.
  30. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
  31. repec:oup:qjecon:v:117:y:2002:i:4:p:1295-1328 is not listed on IDEAS
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2008-62. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kris Vajs)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.