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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
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6266
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  1. Richard Blundell & Martin Browning & Ian Crawford, 2002. "Nonparametric Engel Curves and Revealed Preference," CAM Working Papers 2002-04, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  2. 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.
  3. Laurens Cherchye & Bram De Rock & Frederic Vermeulen, 2011. "The Revealed Preference Approach to Collective Consumption Behaviour: Testing and Sharing Rule Recovery," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(1), pages 176-198.
  4. Jerison, Michael, 1994. "Optimal Income Distribution Rules and Representative Consumers," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(4), pages 739-71, October.
  5. Donald J. Brown & Chris Shannon, 1998. "Uniqueness, Stability, and Comparative Statics in Rationalizable Walrasian Markets," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1170, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Ian Crawford, 2006. "Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Latent Separability," School of Economics Discussion Papers 0706, School of Economics, University of Surrey.
  7. 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.
  8. Muellbauer, John, 1976. "Community Preferences and the Representative Consumer," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(5), pages 979-99, September.
  9. Mark Gertler & Jordi Gali & Richard Clarida, 1999. "The Science of Monetary Policy: A New Keynesian Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1661-1707, December.
  10. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
  11. Cherchye, L.J.H. & de Rock, B. & Vermeulen, F.M.P., 2004. "The Collective Model of Household Consumption : A Nonparametric Characterization," Discussion Paper 2004-76, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  12. 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.
  13. Richard Blundell & Robin, J M, 1995. "Latent separability: grouping goods without weak separability," IFS Working Papers W95/09, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  14. Donald J. Brown & Caterina Calsamiglia, 2005. "The Nonparametric Approach to Applied Welfare Analysis," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1507, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  15. 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.
  16. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3857700 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
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  19. 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.
  20. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  21. Richard Blundell & Martin Browning & Ian Crawford, 2005. "Best nonparametric bounds on demand responses," IFS Working Papers W05/20, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  22. 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.
  23. Pollak, Robert A, 1971. "Additive Utility Functions and Linear Engel Curves," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(116), pages 401-14, October.
  24. Francois Gourio, 2009. "Disaster risk and business cycles," 2009 Meeting Papers 1176, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  25. Adrien Verdelhan & Francois Gourio, 2010. "International Disaster Risk, Business Cycles, and Exchange Rates," 2010 Meeting Papers 435, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  26. Diewert, W E, 1973. "Afriat and Revealed Preference Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 419-25, July.
  27. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Quantitative Macroeconomics with Heterogeneous Households," NBER Working Papers 14768, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. 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).
  29. 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.
  30. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680, March.
  31. Timothy K. M. Beatty & Ian A. Crawford, 2011. "How Demanding Is the Revealed Preference Approach to Demand?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2782-95, October.
  32. 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.
  33. Varian, Hal R, 1983. "Non-Parametric Tests of Consumer Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 99-110, January.
  34. Muellbauer, John, 1975. "Aggregation, Income Distribution and Consumer Demand," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(4), pages 525-43, October.
  35. 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.
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  37. Varian, Hal R, 1982. "The Nonparametric Approach to Demand Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 945-73, July.
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