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Wage Shocks and Consumption Variability in Mexico during the 1990s

  • Miguel Székely
  • Orazio P. Attanasio

This paper presents evidence on the relationship between economic shocks to relative male wages and changes in household consumption in Mexico during the 1990s, which is a period characterized by high volatility. In addition to performing this type of analysis for Mexico for the first time, the paper makes two main contributions. The first is the use of alternative data sources to construct instrumental variables for wages. The second is to examine differences across four consumption categories: non-durable goods, durable goods, education and health. Our results for non-durable goods consumption reject the hypothesis that Mexican households are able to insure idiosyncratic risk. For the comparisons across consumption categories, the conclusion is that households in Mexico tend to react to temporary shocks by contracting the consumption of goods that represent longer-run investment in human capital, which makes them more vulnerable in the future.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 4265.

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Date of creation: May 2001
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4265
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  1. Cochrane, John H, 1991. "A Simple Test of Consumption Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 957-76, October.
  2. Jalan, Jyotsna & Ravallion, Martin, 1999. "Are the poor less well insured? Evidence on vulnerability to income risk in rural China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 61-81, February.
  3. Orazio Attanasio & Steven J. Davis, 1994. "Relative Wage Movements and the Distribution of Consumption," NBER Working Papers 4771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Miguel Székely & Nancy Birdsall & Jere R. Behrman, 2000. "Economics Reform and Wage Differentials in Latin America," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6476, Inter-American Development Bank.
  5. Deaton, Angus & Paxson, Christina, 1994. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 437-67, June.
  6. Eduardo Fernández-Arias & Ricardo Hausmann, 2000. "The Redesign of the International Financial Architecture from a Latin American Perspective: Who Pays the Bill?," Research Department Publications 4245, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  7. Orazio P. Attanasio & Tullio Jappelli, 1998. "Intertemporal Choice and the Cross-Sectional Variance of Marginal Utility," NBER Working Papers 6560, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Tullio Jappelli & Luigi Pistaferri, 2004. "Intertemporal choice and consumption mobility," 2004 Meeting Papers 195, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Martin Browning & Thomas Crossley, . "Shocks, stocks and socks: consumption smoothing and the replacement of durables during an unemployment spell," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 27, McMaster University.
  10. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 1989. "Credit Market Constraints, Consumption Smoothing and the Accumulation of Durable Production Assets in Low-Income Countries: Investments in Bullocks in India," Bulletins 7487, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  11. repec:idb:wpaper:429 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Townsend, R.M., 1991. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 91-3, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  13. Morley, Samuel A., 2000. "La distribución de ingreso en América Latina y el Caribe," Copublicaciones, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 1657 edited by Cepal.
  14. Hanan G. Jacoby & Emmanuel Skoufias, 1997. "Risk, Financial Markets, and Human Capital in a Developing Country," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(3), pages 311-335.
  15. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1997. "Consumption, inequality and income uncertainty," IFS Working Papers W97/15, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  16. Mace, Barbara J, 1991. "Full Insurance in the Presence of Aggregate Uncertainty," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 928-56, October.
  17. Orazio Attanasio & Gabriella Berloffa & Richard Blundell & Stephen Redding, 2002. "From wages to consumption inequality: tracking shocks," IFS Working Papers W02/20, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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