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The effect of self-reported transitory income shocks on household spending

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  • John Sabelhaus
  • Samuel Ackerman

Abstract

We use repeated cross-sections of the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) to study the effect of self-reported transitory income shocks on household food spending. The self-reported shocks in the SCF are derived from survey questions about the gap between actual and "normal" income. This approach stands in contrast to existing income shock measures in the literature, which are generally derived from the residuals of estimated earnings or income equations. Although the self-reported transitory shocks could potentially give very different answers, the overall variance and asymmetry of shocks over the business cycle are similar to those of existing residual-based estimates. Engel Curve analysis shows a significant relationship between self-reported income shocks and household food spending, though the estimated spending responses are only a small part of the substantial slowdown in the growth rate of food consumption observed during the recent economic downturn.

Suggested Citation

  • John Sabelhaus & Samuel Ackerman, 2012. "The effect of self-reported transitory income shocks on household spending," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-64, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2012-64
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Carroll, Christopher D., 2009. "Precautionary saving and the marginal propensity to consume out of permanent income," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 780-790, September.
    2. 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.
    3. Richard Blundell & Hamish Low & Ian Preston, 2013. "Decomposing changes in income risk using consumption data," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 4(1), pages 1-37, March.
    4. Jason DeBacker & Bradley Heim & Vasia Panousi & Ivan Vidangos, 2011. "Rising inequality: transitory or permanent? New evidence from a U.S. panel of household income 1987-2006," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-60, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Claudia R. Sahm & Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2015. "Balance-Sheet Households and Fiscal Stimulus: Lessons from the Payroll Tax Cut and Its Expiration," NBER Working Papers 21220, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Mariacristina De Nardi, 2015. "Quantitative Models of Wealth Inequality: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 21106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. repec:red:issued:16-340 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Mariacristina De Nardi & Giulio Fella, 2017. "Saving and Wealth Inequality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 26, pages 280-300, October.
    5. Merike Kukk & Dmitry Kulikov & Karsten Staehr, 2016. "Estimating Consumption Responses to Income Shocks of Different Persistence Using Self-Reported Income Measures," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62(2), pages 311-333, June.

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