IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedgif/773.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Precautionary savings and the wealth distribution with illiquid durables

Author

Listed:
  • Joseph W. Gruber
  • Robert F. Martin

Abstract

We study the role an illiquid durable consumption good plays in determining the level of precautionary savings and the distribution of wealth in a standard Aiyagari model (i.e. a model with heterogeneous agents, idiosyncratic uncertainty, and borrowing constraints). Transactions costs induce an inaction region over which the durable stock and the associated user cost are not adjusted in response to changes in income, increasing, on average, the volatility of non-durable consumption. The volatility of total consumption is then a function of the share of the durable good in the utility function and the width of the inaction region. We are particularly interested in parameterizations which increase the precautionary motive for saving through an increase in "committed expenditure risk." We find, for an empirically relevant share of durable consumption and for all transaction costs below an upper threshold, that the level of precautionary savings is increasing in the transaction costs. Transaction costs have only a modest impact on the degree of wealth dispersion, as measured by the Gini index, as the associated increase in savings is close to linear in wealth. While we are unable to match the dispersion of wealth in the data, we increase the dispersion over a single asset model (Gini index of .71 for financial assets and .37 for total wealth) and we are able to match the relative dispersion of financial to durable assets, i.e. we find financial assets much more unequal than durable assets. We also match the ratio of housing wealth to total wealth for the median agent. We calibrate the model to data from the PSID, the CES, and the SCF.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph W. Gruber & Robert F. Martin, 2003. "Precautionary savings and the wealth distribution with illiquid durables," International Finance Discussion Papers 773, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:773
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/ifdp/2003/773/default.htm
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/ifdp/2003/773/ifdp773.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Diaz, Antonia & Pijoan-Mas, Josep & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 2003. "Precautionary savings and wealth distribution under habit formation preferences," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1257-1291, September.
    2. Huggett, Mark, 1997. "The one-sector growth model with idiosyncratic shocks: Steady states and dynamics," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 385-403, August.
    3. Hopenhayn, Hugo A & Prescott, Edward C, 1992. "Stochastic Monotonicity and Stationary Distributions for Dynamic Economies," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(6), pages 1387-1406, November.
    4. YiLi Chien & Hanno Lustig, 2010. "The Market Price of Aggregate Risk and the Wealth Distribution," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(4), pages 1596-1650, April.
    5. Carroll, Christopher D. & Weil, David N., 1994. "Saving and growth: a reinterpretation," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 133-192, June.
    6. Erik Hurst, 2004. "Grasshoppers, Ants and Pre-Retirement Wealth: A Test of Permanent Income Consumers," Working Papers wp088, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    7. Vincenzo Quadrini & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 1997. "Understanding the U.S. distribution of wealth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 22-36.
    8. Javier Díaz-Giménez & Vincenzo Quadrini & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 1997. "Dimensions of inequality: facts on the U.S. distributions of earnings, income, and wealth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 3-21.
    9. Santiago Budria Rodriguez & Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Vincenzo Quadrini & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2002. "Updated facts on the U.S. distributions of earnings, income, and wealth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 2-35.
    10. Hubbard, R. Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P., 1994. "The importance of precautionary motives in explaining individual and aggregate saving," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 59-125, June.
    11. Robert F. Martin, 2003. "Consumption, durable goods, and transaction costs," International Finance Discussion Papers 756, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    12. S. Rao Aiyagari, 1994. "Uninsured Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Saving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 659-684.
    13. Meghir, Costas & Weber, Guglielmo, 1996. "Intertemporal Nonseparability or Borrowing Restrictions? A Disaggregate Analysis Using a U.S. Consumption Panel," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1151-1181, September.
    14. Per Krusell & Anthony A. Smith & Jr., 1998. "Income and Wealth Heterogeneity in the Macroeconomy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 867-896, October.
    15. Chatterjee, Satyajit, 1994. "Transitional dynamics and the distribution of wealth in a neoclassical growth model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 97-119, May.
    16. Schechtman, Jack & Escudero, Vera L. S., 1977. "Some results on "an income fluctuation problem"," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 151-166, December.
    17. Christopher D. Carroll & Andrew A. Samwick, 1998. "How Important Is Precautionary Saving?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(3), pages 410-419, August.
    18. Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "The Buffer-Stock Theory of Saving: Some Macroeconomic Evidence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 61-156.
    19. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 2003. "The equity premium in retrospect," Handbook of the Economics of Finance,in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 889-938 Elsevier.
    20. Karen E. Dynan, 1993. "How prudent are consumers?," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 135, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    21. Carroll, Christopher D. & Samwick, Andrew A., 1997. "The nature of precautionary wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 41-71, September.
    22. Ana Castaneda & Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull, 2003. "Accounting for the U.S. Earnings and Wealth Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 818-857, August.
    23. Hanno Lustig & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2002. "Housing Collateral, Consumption Insurance and Risk Premia," Macroeconomics 0211008, EconWPA.
    24. Huggett, Mark, 1993. "The risk-free rate in heterogeneous-agent incomplete-insurance economies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(5-6), pages 953-969.
    25. Dynan, Karen E, 1993. "How Prudent Are Consumers?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 1104-1113, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Carlos Hatchondo, Juan & Martinez, Leonardo & Sánchez, Juan M., 2015. "Mortgage defaults," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 173-190.
      • Hatchondo, Juan Carlos & Martinez, Leonardo & Sánchez, Juan M., 2011. "Mortgage defaults," Working Papers 2011-019, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 31 Jul 2015.
      • Leonardo Martinez & Juan Carlos Hatchondo & Juan M. Sanchez, 2012. "Mortgage Defaults," IMF Working Papers 12/26, International Monetary Fund.
      • Juan Carlos Hatchondo & Leonardo Martinez & Juan M. Sanchez, 2011. "Mortgage defaults," Working Paper 11-05, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
      • Juan Carlos Hatchondo & Leonardo Martinez & Juan M. Sanchez, 2015. "Mortgage Defaults," Caepr Working Papers 2015-011 Classification-D, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
    2. repec:eee:dyncon:v:87:y:2018:i:c:p:124-151 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Satyajit Chatterjee & Burcu Eyigungor, 2015. "A Quantitative Analysis of the US Housing and Mortgage Markets and the Foreclosure Crisis," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(2), pages 165-184, April.
    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. Antonia Diaz & Maria Jose Luengo Prado, 2008. "On the User Cost and Homeownership," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(3), pages 584-613, July.
    6. Jonathan Halket & Santhanagopalan Vasudev, 2014. "Saving Up or Settling Down: Home Ownership over the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(2), pages 345-366, April.
    7. Hintermaier, Thomas & Koeniger, Winfried, 2010. "The method of endogenous gridpoints with occasionally binding constraints among endogenous variables," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 2074-2088, October.
    8. Antonia Díaz & María José Luengo-Prado, 2010. "The Wealth Distribution With Durable Goods," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(1), pages 143-170, February.
    9. Shaofeng Xu, 2013. "An Equilibrium Analysis of the Rise in House Prices and Mortgage Debt," Staff Working Papers 13-9, Bank of Canada.
    10. Silos, Pedro, 2007. "Housing, portfolio choice and the macroeconomy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 2774-2801, August.
    11. Helge Braun & Winfried Koeniger, 2007. "On the role of market insurance in a dynamic model," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance Theory, Springer;International Association for the Study of Insurance Economics (The Geneva Association), vol. 32(1), pages 61-90, June.
    12. Darius Kulikauskas, 2015. "Measuring fundamental housing prices in the Baltic States: empirical approach," ERES eres2015_31, European Real Estate Society (ERES).
    13. Sommer, Kamila & Sullivan, Paul & Verbrugge, Randal, 2013. "The equilibrium effect of fundamentals on house prices and rents," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(7), pages 854-870.
    14. Fernández-Villaverde, Jesús & Krueger, Dirk, 2011. "Consumption And Saving Over The Life Cycle: How Important Are Consumer Durables?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(05), pages 725-770, November.
    15. Jeske, Karsten & Krueger, Dirk & Mitman, Kurt, 2013. "Housing, mortgage bailout guarantees and the macro economy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(8), pages 917-935.
    16. repec:esx:essedp:712 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Robert F. Martin Joseph W. Gruber, 2004. "Does Housing Wealth Make Us Less Equal? The Role of Durable Goods in the Distribution of Wealth," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 15, Econometric Society.
    18. Kim, Jiseob, 2015. "Household’s optimal mortgage and unsecured loan default decision," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 222-244.
    19. Morris Davis & Robert F. Martin, 2005. "Housing, House Prices, and the Equity Premium Revisited," 2005 Meeting Papers 753, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    20. Silos Pedro, 2007. "Housing Tenure and Wealth Distribution in Life Cycle Economies," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-24, August.
    21. Davis, Morris A. & Van Nieuwerburgh, Stijn, 2015. "Housing, Finance, and the Macroeconomy," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    22. Morris A. Davis & Robert F. Martin, 2005. "Housing, house prices, and the equity premium puzzle," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-13, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Durable goods; Consumer ; Wealth;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:773. 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: (Franz Osorio). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/frbgvus.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.