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Saving on a Rainy Day, Borrowing for a Rainy Day

  • Sule Alan


    (University of Cambridge and Koc University)

  • Thomas Crossley


    (University of Cambridge and Koc University)

  • Hamish Low

    (University of Cambridge and Institute for Fiscal Studies)

The aim of this paper is to understand what a recession means for individual consumers, and to model in a life-cycle framework how individuals respond to recessions. Our focus is on the sharp increase in savings rates that have been observed in the current and recent recessions. We show empirically that these saving spikes were short-lived and common to all working age groups. We then study life-cycle models in which recessions involve one or more of: (i) an aggregate permanent negative shock to individual income; (ii) an increase in the variance of idiosyncratic permanent shocks; (iii) a tightening of credit constraints; (iv) asset market crashes. In simulations and in the data we aggregate explicitly from individual behavior. We model credit tightening as a constraint on new borrowing and this generates an option value of borrowing in good times. We show that the rise in the aggregate savings ratio is driven by increases in uncertainty, rather than tighening of credit; temporary shocks to the supply of credit generate increases in saving only among younger agents.

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Paper provided by Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum in its series Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers with number 1212.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: May 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:koc:wpaper:1212
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  1. Guido Lorenzoni & Veronica Guerrieri, 2011. "Credit Crises, Precautionary Savings and the Liquidity Trap," 2011 Meeting Papers 1414, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Barro, Robert, 2006. "Rare Disasters and Asset Markets in the Twentieth Century," Scholarly Articles 3208215, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Nicholas Bloom, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, 05.
  4. Thomas F. Crossley & Hamish W. Low, 2014. "Job Loss, Credit Constraints, and Consumption Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(5), pages 876-884, December.
  5. Rajashri Chakrabarti & Donghoon Lee & Wilbert van der Klaauw & Basit Zafar, 2011. "Household Debt and Saving During the 2007 Recession," NBER Working Papers 16999, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Andrew Glover & Jonathan Heathcote & Dirk Krueger & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2011. "Intergenerational Redistribution in the Great Recession," NBER Working Papers 16924, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Orazio Attanasio & Renata Bottazzi & Hamish Low & Lars Nesheim & Matthew Wakefield, 2012. "Modelling the Demand for Housing over the Lifecycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(1), pages 1-18, January.
  8. Dimitrios Christelis & Dimitris Georgarakos & Tullio Jappelli, 2011. "Wealth Shocks, Unemployment Shocks and Consumption in the Wake of the Great Recession," CSEF Working Papers 279, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 19 Nov 2014.
  9. Christopher Carroll & Jiri Slacalek & Martin Sommer, 2012. "Dissecting Saving Dynamics: Measuring Wealth, Precautionary, and Credit Effects," Economics Working Paper Archive 602, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  10. Ashoka Mody & Damiano Sandri & Franziska Ohnsorge, 2012. "Precautionary Savings in the Great Recession," IMF Working Papers 12/42, International Monetary Fund.
  11. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-45, March.
  12. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & David Benson, 2011. "Consumption and the Great Recession," NBER Working Papers 17688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Martin Browning & Thomas Crossley & Melanie Lührmann, 2012. "Durable Purchases over the Later Life Cycle," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1213, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  14. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
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