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Aggregation without the Aggravation? Nonparametric Analysis of the Representative Consumer

  • Cherchye, Laurens

    ()

    (KU Leuven)

  • Crawford, Ian

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies, London)

  • De Rock, Bram

    ()

    (ECARES, Free University of Brussels)

  • Vermeulen, Frederic

    ()

    (KU Leuven)

In the tradition of Afriat (1967), Diewert (1973) and Varian (1982), we provide a revealed preference characterisation of the representative consumer. Our results are simple and complement those of Gorman (1953, 1961), Samuelson (1956) and others. They can also be applied to data very readily and without the need for auxilliary parametric or statistical assumptions. We investigate the application of our characterisation by means of a balanced microdata panel survey. Our findings provide robust evidence against the existence of a representative consumer for our data.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6266.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6266
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  1. Cherchye, L.J.H. & de Rock, B. & Vermeulen, F.M.P., 2011. "The revealed preference approach to collective consumption behavior : Testing and sharing rule recovery," Other publications TiSEM 11c788ab-cf82-4759-a6a8-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  2. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  3. Richard Clarida & Jordi Gali & Mark Gertler, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," NBER Working Papers 7147, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Blackorby, Charles & Boyce, Richard & Russell, R Robert, 1978. "Estimation of Demand Systems Generated by the Gorman Polar Form: A Generalization of the S-Branch Utility Tree," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(2), pages 345-63, March.
  5. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
  6. Richard Blundell & Martin Browning & Ian Crawford, 2008. "Best Nonparametric Bounds on Demand Responses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(6), pages 1227-1262, November.
  7. Swofford, James L. & Whitney, Gerald A., 1994. "A revealed preference test for weakly separable utility maximization with incomplete adjustment," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1-2), pages 235-249.
  8. Christopher D. Carroll, 2000. "Requiem for the Representative Consumer? Aggregate Implications of Microeconomic Consumption Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 110-115, May.
  9. Cherchye, L.J.H. & de Rock, B. & Vermeulen, F.M.P., 2007. "The collective model of household consumption : A nonparametric characterization," Other publications TiSEM 0a104373-4fb6-4ef2-9d2b-2, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  10. R. Blundell & Jean-Marc Robin, 2000. "Latent separability: grouping goods without weak separability," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/f0uohitsgqh, Sciences Po.
  11. Richard Blundell & Martin Browning & Ian Crawford, 1998. "Nonparametric Engel Curves and Revealed Preference," Discussion Papers 99-07, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  12. Ian Crawford, 2004. "Necessary and sufficient conditions for latent separability," IFS Working Papers W04/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  13. Dow, James & Werlang, Sérgio Ribeiro da Costa, 1986. "The consistency of welfare judgements with a representative consumer," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 87, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  14. Donald J. Brown & Chris Shannon, 1998. "Uniqueness, Stability, and Comparative Statics in Rationalizable Walrasian Markets," GE, Growth, Math methods 9802003, EconWPA, revised 02 Mar 1998.
  15. Varian, Hal R, 1982. "The Nonparametric Approach to Demand Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 945-73, July.
  16. Donald Brown & Caterina Calsamiglia, 2007. "The Nonparametric Approach to Applied Welfare Analysis," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 31(1), pages 183-188, April.
  17. Swofford, James L & Whitney, Gerald A, 1987. "Nonparametric Tests of Utility Maximization and Weak Separability for Consumption, Leisure and Money," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(3), pages 458-64, August.
  18. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Quantitative Macroeconomics with Heterogeneous Households," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 319-354, 05.
  19. Tim Beatty & Ian Crawford, 2010. "How demanding is the revealed preference approach to demand," CeMMAP working papers CWP17/10, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  20. Michael Jerison, 1994. "Optimal Income Distribution Rules and Representative Consumers," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(4), pages 739-771.
  21. Robert A. Pollak, 1971. "Additive Utility Functions and Linear Engel Curves," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(4), pages 401-414.
  22. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
  23. Ian Crawford & J. Peter Neary, 2008. "Testing for a Reference Consumer in International Comparisons of Living Standards," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1731-32, September.
  24. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, December.
  25. Francois Gourio, 2012. "Disaster Risk and Business Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2734-66, October.
  26. Laurens Cherchye & Bram De Rock & Frederic Vermeulen, 2011. "The revealed preference approach to collective consumption behavior: nonparametric testing and sharing rule recovery," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/98560, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  27. Alan P. Kirman, 1992. "Whom or What Does the Representative Individual Represent?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 117-136, Spring.
  28. Fleissig, Adrian R & Whitney, Gerald A, 2003. "A New PC-Based Test for Varian's Weak Separability Conditions," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 21(1), pages 133-44, January.
  29. Fleissig, Adrian R. & Whitney, Gerald A., 2008. "A nonparametric test of weak separability and consumer preferences," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 147(2), pages 275-281, December.
  30. W. E. Diewert, 1973. "Afriat and Revealed Preference Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(3), pages 419-425.
  31. John Muellbauer, 1975. "Aggregation, Income Distribution and Consumer Demand," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(4), pages 525-543.
  32. Hal R. Varian, 1983. "Non-parametric Tests of Consumer Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(1), pages 99-110.
  33. Muellbauer, John, 1976. "Community Preferences and the Representative Consumer," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(5), pages 979-99, September.
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