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The Response of Consumption in Russian Households to Economic Shocks

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  • Stillman, Steven

    () (Free University of Bozen/Bolzano)

Abstract

This paper examines the extent to which consumption in Russian households responds to exogenous income shocks. During the time period studied in this paper (1994 – 1998), Russia experienced two major economic crises. Both featured extreme movements in the real ruble-dollar exchange rate. The price of oil, which is typically thought to have a strong effect on the Russian economy, was also quite volatile during this time period. This paper exploits these large changes in oil prices and exchange rates, as well as community-level variations in wage and pension arrears, to identify exogenous shocks to household income. Using representative panel data on urban households from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey, I find that a household which experiences an exogenous shock of 10% of its total income changes both its food and total non-durable expenditure by 7-11%. Most evidence indicates that these shocks are transitory in nature and thus the traditional Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis model is firmly rejected as describing the behavior of Russian households. Additional results indicate that changes in household savings are negatively related to exogenous income shocks, with this relationship strongest for low wealth households. Only models of consumption which include precautionary savings motives can explain why poorer households both reduce their consumption and increase their savings in response to an exogenous decline in income.

Suggested Citation

  • Stillman, Steven, 2001. "The Response of Consumption in Russian Households to Economic Shocks," IZA Discussion Papers 411, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp411
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Lehmann, Hartmut & Wadsworth, Jonathan & Acquisti, Alessandro, 1999. "Grime and Punishment: Job Insecurity and Wage Arrears in the Russian Federation," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 595-617, December.
    4. 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 461-481, March.
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    6. 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.
    7. Christopher D. Carroll, 2001. "A Theory of the Consumption Function, with and without Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 23-45, Summer.
    8. Bhalla, Surjit S, 1980. "The Measurement of Permanent Income and Its Application to Savings Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(4), pages 722-744, August.
    9. Lehmann, Hartmut & Wadsworth, Jonathan & Acquisti, Alessandro, 1999. "Grime and Punishment: Insecurity and Wage Arrears in the Russian Federation," IZA Discussion Papers 65, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Cochrane, John H, 1991. "A Simple Test of Consumption Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 957-976, October.
    11. 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.
    12. Shelly Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak, 1996. "Bargaining and Distribution in Marriage," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 139-158, Fall.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Maksim Yemelyanau, 2009. "Second agriculture in Belarus and Ukraine:subsistence or leisure?," BEROC Working Paper Series 08, Belarusian Economic Research and Outreach Center (BEROC).
    2. Mark C. Foley & William Pyle, 2005. "Household Savings in Russia during the Transition," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0522, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
    3. Dang,Hai-Anh H. & Lokshin,Michael M. & Abanokova,Ksenia & Bussolo,Maurizio, 2018. "Inequality and Welfare Dynamics in the Russian Federation during 1994-2015," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8629, The World Bank.
    4. repec:eee:jeborg:v:141:y:2017:i:c:p:210-232 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Irac, D. & Minoiu, C., 2006. "Risk Insurance in a Transition Economy: Evidence from Rural Romania," Working papers 154, Banque de France.
    6. Spryskov Dmitry, 2003. "Below the Poverty Line: Duration of Poverty in Russia," EERC Working Paper Series 03-04e, EERC Research Network, Russia and CIS.
    7. Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Klara Sabirianova Peter & Dmitriy Stolyarov, 2010. "Inequality and Volatility Moderation in Russia: Evidence from Micro-Level Panel Data on Consumption and Income," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 209-237, January.
    8. Emmanuel Skoufias, 2003. "Consumption smoothing in Russia," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 11(1), pages 67-91, March.
    9. Stillman, Steven & Thomas, Duncan, 2004. "The Effect of Economic Crises on Nutritional Status: Evidence from Russia," IZA Discussion Papers 1092, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Stephanie von Hinke & George Leckie, 2017. "Protecting Calorie Intakes against Income Shocks," Bristol Economics Discussion Papers 17/684, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Consumption; savings; consumption smoothing; precautionary savings; economic shocks; Russia;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty

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