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Liquidity constraints of the middle class

  • Jeffrey R. Campbell
  • Zvi Hercowitz

There is evidence that a household's consumption response to transitory income does not decline, and perhaps increases, with the level of financial assets it holds. That is, middle class households with assets act as if they face liquidity constraints. This paper addresses this puzzling observation with a model of impatient households that face a large recurring expenditure. In spite of impatience, they save as this expenditure draws near. The authors call such saving made in preparation for a foreseeable event at a given future date "term saving." Term saving reverses the role of assets in the presence of liquidity constraints.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-09-20.

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Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-09-20
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  1. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1999. "The Savers-Spenders Theory of Fiscal Policy," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1888, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Costas Meghir & Luigi Pistaferri, 2004. "Income Variance Dynamics and Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 1-32, 01.
  3. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Zvi Hercowitz, 2006. "Welfare implications of the transition to high household debt," Working Paper Series WP-06-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2003. "Consumer Response to Tax Rebates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 381-396, March.
  5. Tullio Jappelli & Luigi Pistaferri, 2010. "The Consumption Response to Income Changes," NBER Working Papers 15739, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Christopher D. Carroll & Miles S. Kimball, 1995. "On the Concavity of the Consumption Function," Macroeconomics 9503003, EconWPA.
  7. Stephen Zeldes, . "Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 24-85, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  8. Claudia R. Sahm & Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2010. "Household Response to the 2008 Tax Rebate: Survey Evidence and Aggregate Implications," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 24, pages 69-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Deaton, Angus, 1991. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1221-48, September.
  10. Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2009. "Did the 2008 Tax Rebates Stimulate Spending?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 374-79, May.
  11. Souleles, Nicholas S., 2002. "Consumer response to the Reagan tax cuts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 99-120, July.
  12. Jonathan A. Parker, 2011. "Consumer Spending and the Economic Stimulus Payments of 2008," 2011 Meeting Papers 254, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Kennickell, Arthur & Lusardi, Annamaria, 2005. "Disentangling the importance of the precautionary saving motive," CFS Working Paper Series 2006/15, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  14. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:105:y:1990:i:1:p:219-34 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Nicholas S. Souleles & Jonathan A. Parker & David S. Johnson, 2006. "Household Expenditure and the Income Tax Rebates of 2001," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1589-1610, December.
  16. Hall, Robert E & Mishkin, Frederic S, 1982. "The Sensitivity of Consumption to Transitory Income: Estimates from Panel Data on Households," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 461-81, March.
  17. Nicholas S. Souleles, 1999. "The Response of Household Consumption to Income Tax Refunds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 947-958, September.
  18. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-87, December.
  19. Greg Kaplan & Giovanni L. Violante, 2014. "A Model of the Consumption Response to Fiscal Stimulus Payments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(4), pages 1199-1239, 07.
  20. 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.
  21. Chang-Tai Hsieh, 2003. "Do Consumers React to Anticipated Income Changes? Evidence from the Alaska Permanent Fund," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 397-405, March.
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