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Stochastic Components of Individual Consumption: A Time Series Analysis of Grouped Data

  • Orazio Attanasio
  • Margherita Borella

In this paper we propose a method to characterize the time series properties of individual consumption, income and interest rates using micro data, as studies in labour economics have characterized the time series properties of hours and earnings. Our approach, however, does not remove aggregate shocks. Having estimated the parameters of a flexible multivariate MA representation we relate the coefficients of our statistical model to structural parameters of theoretical models of consumption behaviour. Our approach offers a unifying framework that encompasses the Euler equation approach to the study of consumption and the studies that relate innovations to income to innovations to consumption, such as those that have found the so-called excess smoothness of consumption. Using a long time series of cross sections to construct synthetic panel data for the UK, we estimate our model and find that the restriction of Euler equations are typically not rejected, while the data show 'excess smoothness'.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12456.

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Date of creation: Aug 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12456
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  1. Forni, Mario & Reichlin, Lucrezia, 1996. "Dynamic Common Factors in Large Cross-Sections," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 27-42.
  2. Orazio P. Attanasio & Guglielmo Weber, 1994. "Is Consumption Growth Consistent with Intertemporal Optimization? Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Survey," NBER Working Papers 4795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Orazio Attanasio & Nicola Pavoni, 2007. "Risk Sharing in Private Information Models with Asset Accumulation: Explaining the Excess Smoothness of Consumption," NBER Working Papers 12994, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Cunha, Flavio & Heckman, James & Navarro, Salvador, 2004. "Separating uncertainty from heterogeneity in life cycle earnings," Working Paper Series 2005:6, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  5. 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.
  6. Richard Blundell & Luigi Pistaferri & Ian Preston, 2004. "Consumption inequality and partial insurance," IFS Working Papers W04/28, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  7. Attanasio, O.P. & Browning, M., 1993. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle and Over the Business Cycle," Papers 9314, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  8. Watson, Mark W. & Engle, Robert F., 1983. "Alternative algorithms for the estimation of dynamic factor, mimic and varying coefficient regression models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 385-400, December.
  9. Attanasio, Orazio P & Weber, Guglielmo, 1993. "Consumption Growth, the Interest Rate and Aggregation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 631-49, July.
  10. Sargent, Thomas J, 1978. "Rational Expectations, Econometric Exogeneity, and Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(4), pages 673-700, August.
  11. Campbell, John & Deaton, Angus, 1989. "Why Is Consumption So Smooth?," Scholarly Articles 3221494, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Altonji, Joseph G. & Martins, Ana Paula & Siow, Aloysius, 2002. "Dynamic factor models of consumption, hours and income," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 3-59, June.
  13. John Y. Campbell, 1992. "Inspecting the Mechanism: An Analytical Approach to the Stochastic Growth Model," NBER Working Papers 4188, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Flavin, Marjorie A, 1981. "The Adjustment of Consumption to Changing Expectations about Future Income," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 974-1009, October.
  15. Jonathan Gruber, 1994. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 4750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Hayashi, Fumio & Altonji, Joseph & Kotlikoff, Laurence, 1996. "Risk-Sharing between and within Families," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 261-94, March.
  17. Watson, Mark W., 1986. "Univariate detrending methods with stochastic trends," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 49-75, July.
  18. Kenneth D. West, 1987. "The Insensitivity of Consumption to News About Income," NBER Working Papers 2252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1993. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 4328, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. John M. Abowd & David Card, 1986. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," NBER Working Papers 1832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Orazio Attanasio, 1997. "Consumption and saving behaviour: modelling recent trends," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 18(1), pages 23-47, February.
  22. Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 1998. "Consumption Inequality And Income Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 603-640, May.
  23. Meghir, Costas & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2002. "Income Variance Dynamics and Heterogeneity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3632, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  24. Caballero, Ricardo J, 1990. "Expenditure on Durable Goods: A Case for Slow Adjustment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 727-43, August.
  25. Martin Browning & Thomas Crossley, 2003. "Shocks, Stocks and Socks," Department of Economics Working Papers 2003-07, McMaster University.
  26. John Y. Campbell, 1986. "Does Saving Anticipate Declining Labor Income? An Alternative Test of the Permanent Income Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 1805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Banks, James & Blundell, Richard & Preston, Ian, 1994. "Life-cycle expenditure allocations and the consumption costs of children," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(7), pages 1391-1410, August.
  28. Orazio Attanasio & Steven J. Davis, 1994. "Relative Wage Movements and the Distribution of Consumption," NBER Working Papers 4771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 192-205, March.
  30. 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.
  31. Deaton, Angus, 1985. "Panel data from time series of cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 109-126.
  32. Campbell, John Y. & Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1991. "The response of consumption to income : A cross-country investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 723-756, May.
  33. Susan Dynarski & Jonathan Gruber, 1997. "Can Families Smooth Variable Earnings?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 229-303.
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