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Expected consumption growth from cross-country surveys: implications for assessing international capital markets

  • Charles Engel
  • John H. Rogers

Survey data show that the expected growth rates of consumption across countries vary widely and are not highly correlated. This data contradicts the simplest of open-economy models in which there is a freely traded non- state-contingent bond and purchasing power parity holds. We explore two alternative explanations for the finding: that households in each country in effect face different ex ante real interest rates or that there are significant credit constraints, so that expected consumption growth rates are driven largely by expected income growth. The empirical evidence strongly supports the latter hypothesis. These findings challenge the modeling of consumption that is at the heart of many, if not most, macroeconomic models.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 949.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:949
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  1. Giancarlo CORSETTI & Luca DEDOLA & Sylvain LEDUC, 2003. "International Risk-Sharing and the Transmission of Productivity Shocks," Economics Working Papers ECO2003/22, European University Institute.
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  3. Allen Head & Todd Mattina & Gregor Smith, 2004. "Real exchange rates, preferences, and incomplete markets: evidence, 1961-2001," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(3), pages 782-801, August.
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  7. Andrea Ferrero, 2007. "The long-run determinants of U.S. external imbalances," Staff Reports 295, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  8. Charles Engel & Nelson C. Mark & Kenneth D. West, 2008. "Exchange Rate Models Are Not As Bad As You Think," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2007, Volume 22, pages 381-441 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Brandt, Michael W. & Cochrane, John H. & Santa-Clara, Pedro, 2006. "International risk sharing is better than you think, or exchange rates are too smooth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 671-698, May.
  10. Bergin, Paul R & Sheffrin, Steven M, 2000. "Interest Rates, Exchange Rates and Present Value Models of the Current Account," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(463), pages 535-58, April.
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  12. Ghosh, Atish R, 1995. "International Capital Mobility amongst the Major Industrialised Countries: Too Little or Too Much?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(428), pages 107-28, January.
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  14. Dean Croushore, 2006. "An evaluation of inflation forecasts from surveys using real-time data," Working Papers 06-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  15. David K. Backus & Gregor W. Smith, 1993. "Consumption and Real Exchange Rates in Dynamic Economies with Non-Traded Goods," Working Papers 1252, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  16. Eric Ghysels & Jonathan H. Wright, 2006. "Forecasting professional forecasters," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-10, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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