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MPC heterogeneity and household balance sheets

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  • Andreas Fagereng
  • Martin B. Holm
  • Gisle J. Natvik

Abstract

We use sizeable lottery prizes in Norwegian administrative panel data to characterize households' marginal propensities to consume (MPCs). Our main contribution is to document how MPCs vary with household characteristics and prize size, and how lottery prizes are spent and saved over time. We find that spending spikes in the year of winning, and reverts to normal within 5 years. Controlling for all items on households' balance sheets and characteristics such as education and income, it is the amount won, age and liquid assets that vary systematically with MPCs. Low-liquidity winners of the smallest prizes (around USD 1,500) are estimated to spend all within the year of winning. The same estimate for high-liquidity winners of large prizes (USD 8,300 - 150,000) is slightly below one half. While the consumption responses we find are high, their systematic relations with observables point toward well-understood mechanisms from existing theory and should be useful to quantify structural models.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Fagereng & Martin B. Holm & Gisle J. Natvik, 2018. "MPC heterogeneity and household balance sheets," Working Papers 4, Department of the Treasury, Ministry of the Economy and of Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:itt:wpaper:wp2018-4
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    marginal propensity to consume; household heterogeneity; income shocks;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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