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Do Households Smooth Expenditure over Anticipated Income Changes? Evidence from Bonus Payments to Public Employees in Japan

  • Hori, Masahiro
  • Shimizutani, Satoshi

This paper provides new evidence of consumers’ reaction to an anticipated sizable change in income. Until FY2002, Japanese public employees received predictable large bonus payments three times a fiscal year (in June, December, and March), but the March bonus was abolished in FY2003. We compare the seasonal patterns of public employees’ expenditure before and after the reform of the bonus payment schedule. Contrary to the prediction of the life cycle/permanent income hypothesis (LC/PIH), we find evidence that monthly patterns of household expenditure were significantly affected by the anticipated large change in income pattern. However, at closer inspection, this excess sensitivity of expenditure is observed only for expenditure subcategories of some durability, i.e., durables and semi-durables. Thus, while the LC/PIH does not appear to hold for expenditure (which we observe here), it may still hold for consumption.

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File URL: http://hermes-ir.lib.hit-u.ac.jp/rs/bitstream/10086/22066/1/cis_dp532.pdf
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Paper provided by Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series CIS Discussion paper series with number 532.

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Length: 44 p.
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hit:cisdps:532
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  1. 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.
  2. Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2001. "Consumer Response to Tax Rebates," NBER Working Papers 8672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Melvin Stephens Jr., 2003. "The Consumption Response to Predictable Changes in Discretionary Income: Evidence from the Repayment of Vehicle Loans," NBER Working Papers 9976, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Martin Browning & M. Dolores Collado, 2001. "The Response of Expenditures to Anticipated Income Changes: Panel Data Estimates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 681-692, June.
  5. Paxson, Christina H, 1993. "Consumption and Income Seasonality in Thailand," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 39-72, February.
  6. Melvin Stephens & Takashi Unayama, 2011. "The Consumption Response to Seasonal Income: Evidence from Japanese Public Pension Benefits," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 86-118, October.
  7. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. David S. Johnson & Jonathan A. Parker & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2004. "Household Expenditure and the Income Tax Rebates of 2001," NBER Working Papers 10784, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Stephens, Melvin & Unayama, Takashi, 2012. "The impact of retirement on household consumption in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 62-83.
  10. Hori Masahiro & Shimizutani Satoshi, 2009. "The Response of Household Expenditure to Anticipated Income Changes: Bonus Payments and the Seasonality of Consumption in Japan," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-22, August.
  11. Shimizutani, Satoshi, 2006. "Consumer response to the 1998 tax cut: Is a temporary tax cut effective?," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 269-287, June.
  12. 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.
  13. Shapiro, Matthew D & Slemrod, Joel, 1995. "Consumer Response to the Timing of Income: Evidence from a Change in Tax Withholding," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 274-83, March.
  14. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Consumption, Income, and Interest Rates: Reinterpreting the Time Series Evidence," NBER Working Papers 2924, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. 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.
  16. Brahima Coulibaly & Geng Li, 2006. "Do Homeowners Increase Consumption after the Last Mortgage Payment? An Alternative Test of the Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 10-19, February.
  17. Souleles, Nicholas S., 2002. "Consumer response to the Reagan tax cuts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 99-120, July.
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