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The Consumption Response to Seasonal Income: Evidence from Japanese Public Pension Benefits

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  • Melvin Stephens, Jr.
  • Takashi Unayama

Abstract

Japanese public pension benefits, which were distributed quarterly through February 1990 and every other month since then, induce substantial but predictable income fluctuations. The relative magnitude of the payments combined with the delay between payments yields a stronger test of the Life-Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis than in prior studies. Applying two identification strategies to monthly household panel data, we find that consumption significantly responds to quarterly benefit receipt. Additional analysis suggests that our findings cannot be explained by either liquidity constraints or precautionary savings motives.

Suggested Citation

  • Melvin Stephens, Jr. & Takashi Unayama, 2010. "The Consumption Response to Seasonal Income: Evidence from Japanese Public Pension Benefits," NBER Working Papers 16342, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16342
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Andersson, Elvira & Lundborg, Petter & Vikström, Johan, 2015. "Income receipt and mortality — Evidence from Swedish public sector employees," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 21-32.
    2. Arna Vardardottir & Michaela Pagel, 2016. "The Liquid Hand-to-Mouth: Evidence from a Personal Finance Management Software," 2016 Meeting Papers 789, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Hara, Ryota & Unayama, Takashi & Weidner, Justin, 2016. "The wealthy hand to mouth in Japan," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 52-54.
    4. Tzu-Ting Yang, 2016. "Family Labor Supply and the Timing of Cash Transfers: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit," IEAS Working Paper : academic research 16-A012, Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.
    5. White, Justin S. & Basu, Sanjay, 2016. "Does the benefits schedule of cash assistance programs affect the purchase of temptation goods? Evidence from Peru," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 70-89.
    6. Hori, Masahiro & Shimizutani, Satoshi, 2012. "Do households smooth expenditure over anticipated income changes? Evidence from bonus payments to public employees in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 405-433.
    7. Melvin Stephens, Jr. & Takashi Unayama, 2015. "Estimating the Impacts of Program Benefits: Using Instrumental Variables with Underreported and Imputed Data," NBER Working Papers 21248, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. David CASHIN & UNAYAMA Takashi, 2012. "Short-run Distributional Effects of VAT Rate Change: Evidence from a consumption tax rate increase in Japan," Discussion papers 12029, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    9. Fuchs-Schündeln, N. & Hassan, T.A., 2016. "Natural Experiments in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    10. David CASHIN & UNAYAMA Takashi, 2011. "The Intertemporal Substitution and Income Effects of a VAT Rate Increase: Evidence from Japan," Discussion papers 11045, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    11. Guney, Ibrahim Ethem & Hacihasanoglu, Yavuz Selim & Tumen, Semih, 2017. "Consumer Loan Response to Permanent Labor Income Shocks: Evidence from a Major Minimum Wage Increase," IZA Discussion Papers 10751, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Melvin Stephens Jr & Takashi Unayama, 2015. "Child Benefit Payments and Household Wealth Accumulation," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 66(4), pages 447-465, December.
    13. Shunji Tada & Koyo Miyoshi, 2015. "Verifying household incomes in Japanese statistics," Public Policy Review, Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance Japan, vol. 11(4), pages 531-546, September.
    14. Satoshi Shimizutani, 2017. "College tuition payment and household consumption in Japan," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 265-285, March.
    15. Casaburi, Lorenzo & Macchiavello, Rocco, 2015. "Firm and Market Response to Saving Constraints: Evidence from the Kenyan Dairy Industry," CEPR Discussion Papers 10952, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. Sumit Agarwal, 2015. "Age of Decision: Pension Savings Withdrawal and Consumption and Debt Response," 2015 Meeting Papers 709, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    17. Inés Berniell, 2018. "Pay Cycles: Individual and Aggregate Effects of Paycheck Frequency," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0221, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    18. Nao Sudo & Michio Suzuki & Tomoaki Yamada, 2012. "Inequalities in Japanese Economy during the Lost Decades," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-856, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    19. David B. Cashin, 2017. "The Household Expenditure Response to a Consumption Tax Rate Increase," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-035, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    20. BERNIELL, Inés, 2016. "Waiting for the paycheck : individual and aggregate effects of wage payment," Economics Working Papers MWP2016/05, European University Institute.
    21. repec:bla:sajeco:v:85:y:2017:i:1:p:98-122 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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