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Consumption Dynamics under Time-Varying Unemployment Risk

Author

Listed:
  • Harmenberg, Karl

    (Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School)

  • Ôberg, Erik

    (Uppsala University)

Abstract

Private consumption demand falls in response to increased unemployment risk during a recession, as households increase their precautionary savings and postpone irreversible durable investments. The postponement effect is seven times as large as the precautionary-savings effect in a calibrated buffer-stock savings model. In consequence, anticipation of future unemployment risk is more important than realized unemployment shocks in accounting for durable expenditure dynamics during recessions, while the opposite is true for nondurables. The importance of anticipation of future unemployment risk also means that having many ’hand-to-mouth’ households, who do not respond to changes in income risk, significantly dampens the demand response for durables to an adverse labor market shock. We find that the model elasticities of durable and nondurable expenditures with respect to unemployment risk are close to what we estimate in micro survey data.

Suggested Citation

  • Harmenberg, Karl & Ôberg, Erik, 2019. "Consumption Dynamics under Time-Varying Unemployment Risk," Working Papers 8-2019, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:cbsnow:2019_008
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    Cited by:

    1. Krueger, D. & Mitman, K. & Perri, F., 2016. "Macroeconomics and Household Heterogeneity," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 843-921, Elsevier.
    2. Harmenberg, Karl, 2021. "Aggregating heterogeneous-agent models with permanent income shocks," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    3. Boris Chafwehe, 2023. "Unemployment Risk, Consumption Dynamics, and the Secondary Market for Durable Goods," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 48, pages 202-243, April.
    4. repec:diw:diwwpp:dp2004 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Javier Gardeazabal & Eduardo Polo-Muro, 2022. "Cultural expenditure of those who enter (or exit) unemployment," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 46(4), pages 571-596, December.
    6. Jin Cao & Chao Cui & Valeriya Dinger & Martin B. Holm & Shulong Kang, 2022. "Identifying the depreciation rate of durables from marginal spending responses," Working Paper 2022/1, Norges Bank.
    7. Tao Wang, 2023. "Perceived versus Calibrated Income Risks in Heterogeneous-Agent Consumption Models," Staff Working Papers 23-59, Bank of Canada.
    8. Jeppe Druedahl, 2021. "A Guide on Solving Non-convex Consumption-Saving Models," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 58(3), pages 747-775, October.
    9. Juelsrud, Ragnar E. & Wold, Ella Getz, 2019. "The Saving and Employment Effects of Higher Job Loss Risk," Working Paper 2019/17, Norges Bank.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    household consumption; income risk; unemployment; business cycles;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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