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Consumption, Commitmants and Preferences for Risk

Author

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  • Andrew Postlewaite
  • Larry Samuelson
  • Dan Silverman

Abstract

We examine an economy in which the cost of consuming some goods can be reduced by making commitments to consumption levels independent of the state. For example, it is cheaper to produce housing services via owner-occupied than rented housing, but the transactions costs associated with the former prompt relatively inflexible housing consumption paths. We show that consumption commitments can cause risk-neutral consumers to care about risk, creating incentives to both insure risks and bunch uninsured risks together. For example, workers may prefer to avoid wage risk while bearing an unemployment risk that is concentrated in as few states as possible.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Postlewaite & Larry Samuelson & Dan Silverman, 2004. "Consumption, Commitmants and Preferences for Risk," NBER Working Papers 10527, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10527
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. George A. Akerlof & Hajime Miyazaki, 1980. "The Implicit Contract Theory of Unemployment meets the Wage Bill Argument," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(2), pages 321-338.
    2. Richard E. Kihlstrom & Leonard J. Mirman, 1981. "Constant, Increasing and Decreasing Risk Aversion with Many Commodities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 271-280.
    3. Ellingsen, Tore & Holden, Steinar, 1995. "Sticky Consumption and Rigid Wages," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 62, Stockholm School of Economics.
    4. Martin Neil Baily, 1974. "Wages and Employment under Uncertain Demand," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(1), pages 37-50.
    5. Azariadis, Costas, 1975. "Implicit Contracts and Underemployment Equilibria," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1183-1202, December.
    6. Adam Szeidl & Raj Chetty, 2004. "Consumption Commitments and Asset Prices," 2004 Meeting Papers 354, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Lucas, Robert E, Jr & Rapping, Leonard A, 1969. "Real Wages, Employment, and Inflation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(5), pages 721-754, Sept./Oct.
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    Cited by:

    1. Drew Fudenberg & David K. Levine, 2011. "Risk, Delay, and Convex Self-Control Costs," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 34-68, August.
    2. Raj Chetty & Adam Szeidl, 2016. "Consumption Commitments and Habit Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 84, pages 855-890, March.
    3. Raj Chetty & Adam Szeidl, 2007. "Consumption Commitments and Risk Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 831-877.
    4. Stephen H. Shore & Todd Sinai, 2010. "Commitment, Risk, and Consumption: Do Birds of a Feather Have Bigger Nests?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 408-424, May.
    5. Steinar Holden & Fredrik Wulfsberg, 2007. "Are real wages rigid downwards?," Working Paper 2007/01, Norges Bank.
    6. Holden, Steinar & Wulfsberg, Fredrik, 2009. "How strong is the macroeconomic case for downward real wage rigidity?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 605-615, May.
    7. Adam Szeidl & Raj Chetty, 2005. "Consumption Commitments: Neoclassical Foundations for Habit Formation," 2005 Meeting Papers 122, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Steinar Holden & Fredrik Wulfsberg, 2007. "How strong is the case for downward real wage rigidity?," Working Papers 07-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

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