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Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis

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  • Christopher D Carroll

Abstract

This paper argues that the typical household's saving is better described by a buffer-stock version than by the traditional version of the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis (LC/PIH) model Buffer-stock behavior emerges if consumers with important income uncertainty are sufficiently impatient In the traditional model consumption growth is determined solely by tastes; in contract buffer-stock consumers set average consumption growth equal to average labor income growth regardless of tastes The model can explain three empirical puzzles: the consumption/income parallel of Carroll and Summers [1991]; the consumption/income divergence first documented in the 1930's; and the temporal stability of the household age/wealth profile despite the unpredictability of idiosyncratic wealth changes

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher D Carroll, 1990. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," Economics Working Paper Archive 371, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics, revised Aug 1996.
  • Handle: RePEc:jhu:papers:371
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    JEL classification:

    • 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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