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Rational Habit Modification: the Role of Credit

  • Henry, O.
  • Messinis, G.
  • Olekalns, N.

This paper proposes an asymmetric model within which consumer credit facilitates both consumption smoothing and rational habit modification. The model provides a better description of aggregate time series consumption data than competeting models. In particular, the model can account for the various aggregate consumption anomalies that have led to repeated rejections of Hall's (1978) random walk model of consumption. The model is applied to US data using a GMM approach. The evidence suggests that new credit can predict short-run changes in consumption and has assisted consumers to become more forward-looking since 1975.

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File URL: http://www.economics.unimelb.edu.au/downloads/wpapers-00-01/729.pdf
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Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 729.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:729
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne, 4th Floor, FBE Building, Level 4, 111 Barry Street. Victoria, 3010, Australia
Phone: +61 3 8344 5355
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Web page: http://www.economics.unimelb.edu.auEmail:


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  1. Sydney Ludvigson, 1999. "Consumption And Credit: A Model Of Time-Varying Liquidity Constraints," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(3), pages 434-447, August.
  2. Marjorie Flavin, 1985. "Excess Sensitivity of Consumption to Current Income: Liquidity Constraints or Myopia?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 18(1), pages 117-36, February.
  3. Bacchetta, Philippe & Gerlach, Stefan, 1997. "Consumption and credit constraints: International evidence," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 207-238, October.
  4. Wayne E. Ferson & George M. Constantinides, 1991. "Habit Persistence and Durability in Aggregate Consumption: Empirical Tests," NBER Working Papers 3631, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Denis Kwiatkowski & Peter C.B. Phillips & Peter Schmidt, 1991. "Testing the Null Hypothesis of Stationarity Against the Alternative of a Unit Root: How Sure Are We That Economic Time Series Have a Unit Root?," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 979, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Hoch, Stephen J & Loewenstein, George F, 1991. " Time-Inconsistent Preferences and Consumer Self-Control," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 492-507, March.
  7. Messinis, George, 1999. " Habit Formation and the Theory of Addiction," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(4), pages 417-42, September.
  8. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1988. "Consumption and Capital Market Imperfection: An International Comparison," CEPR Discussion Papers 244, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Carroll, Christopher D & Fuhrer, Jeffrey C & Wilcox, David W, 1994. "Does Consumer Sentiment Forecast Household Spending? If So, Why?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1397-1408, December.
  10. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1992. "Saving, Growth and Liquidity Constraints," CEPR Discussion Papers 662, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "Specification Tests in Econometrics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1251-71, November.
  12. Whitney K. Newey & Kenneth D. West, 1986. "A Simple, Positive Semi-Definite, Heteroskedasticity and AutocorrelationConsistent Covariance Matrix," NBER Technical Working Papers 0055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Nilss Olekalns, 1997. "Has Financial Deregulation Revived the Permanent Income/Life Cycle Hypothesis?," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 30(2), pages 155-166.
  14. Tony S. Wirjanto, 1995. "Aggregate Consumption Behaviour and Liquidity Constraints: The Canadian Evidence," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(4b), pages 1135-52, November.
  15. Loewenstein, George & Prelec, Drazen, 1992. "Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice: Evidence and an Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 573-97, May.
  16. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-87, December.
  17. David I. Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 1998. "Self-Control and Saving for Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 91-196.
  18. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  19. Dickey, David A & Fuller, Wayne A, 1981. "Likelihood Ratio Statistics for Autoregressive Time Series with a Unit Root," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 1057-72, June.
  20. Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1982. "Hall's consumption hypothesis and durable goods," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 417-425.
  21. Laibson, David, 1998. "Life-cycle consumption and hyperbolic discount functions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 861-871, May.
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