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Wealth Effects Revisited: 1975-2012

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  • Karl E. Case
  • John M. Quigley
  • Robert J. Shiller

Abstract

We re-examine the links between changes in housing wealth, financial wealth, and consumer spending. We extend a panel of U.S. states observed quarterly during the seventeen-year period, 1982 through 1999, to the thirty-seven year period, 1975 through 2012Q2. Using techniques reported previously, we impute the aggregate value of owner-occupied housing, the value of financial assets, and measures of aggregate consumption for each of the geographic units over time. We estimate regression models in levels, first differences and in error-correction form, relating per capita consumption to per capita income and wealth. We find a statistically significant and rather large effect of housing wealth upon household consumption. This effect is consistently larger than the effect of stock market wealth upon consumption. In our earlier version of this paper we found that households increase their spending when house prices rise, but we found no significant decrease in consumption when house prices fall. The results presented here with the extended data now show that declines in house prices stimulate large and significant decreases in household spending. The elasticities implied by this work are large. An increase in real housing wealth comparable to the rise between 2001 and 2005 would, over the four years, push up household spending by a total of about 4.3%. A decrease in real housing wealth comparable to the crash which took place between 2005 and 2009 would lead to a drop of about 3.5%.

Suggested Citation

  • Karl E. Case & John M. Quigley & Robert J. Shiller, 2013. "Wealth Effects Revisited: 1975-2012," NBER Working Papers 18667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18667
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Karl Case & John Quigley, 2008. "How Housing Booms Unwind: Income Effects, Wealth Effects, and Feedbacks through Financial Markets," European Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 161-180.
    2. Case Karl E. & Quigley John M. & Shiller Robert J., 2005. "Comparing Wealth Effects: The Stock Market versus the Housing Market," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-34, May.
    3. Levin, Laurence, 1998. "Are assets fungible?: Testing the behavioral theory of life-cycle savings," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 59-83, July.
    4. Case, Karl E. & Quigley, John M., 2009. "How Housing Busts End: Home Prices, User Cost, and Rigidities During Down Cycles," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt6mh9m4ff, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
    5. Campbell, John Y. & Cocco, Joao F., 2007. "How do house prices affect consumption? Evidence from micro data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 591-621, April.
    6. David Genesove & Christopher Mayer, 2001. "Loss Aversion and Seller Behavior: Evidence from the Housing Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1233-1260.
    7. Martha Starr-McCluer, 2002. "Stock Market Wealth and Consumer Spending," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(1), pages 69-79, January.
    8. Arthur Kennickell & Annamaria Lusardi, 2004. "Disentangling the Importance of the Precautionary Saving Mode," NBER Working Papers 10888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Kennickell, Arthur B & Starr-McCluer, Martha, 1997. "Retrospective Reporting of Household Wealth: Evidence from the 1983-1989 Survey of Consumer Finances," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(4), pages 452-463, October.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E02 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Institutions and the Macroeconomy
    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

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