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Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption


  • Robert E. Hall


Does a higher real interest rate induce significant postponement of consumption? According to the theory developed here, this question can be answered by studying the relation between the rate of growth of consumption and expected real interest rates. In postwar data for the United States, expected real returns have declined over time in the stock market and for savings accounts. Over the same period, the rate of growth of consumption has been almost steady. The paper concludes that intertemporal substitution is weak, for if it were strong, the growth rate of consumption would have declined.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert E. Hall, 1981. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," NBER Working Papers 0720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0720
    Note: EFG

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Merton, Robert C, 1973. "An Intertemporal Capital Asset Pricing Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(5), pages 867-887, September.
    2. Friend, Irwin & Landskroner, Yoram & Losq, Etienne, 1976. "The Demand for Risky Assets under Uncertain Inflation," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 31(5), pages 1287-1297, December.
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