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Wealth Effects Revisited: 1975-2012

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

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%.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18667.

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Date of creation: Jan 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Case, Karl E. & Quigley, John M. & Shiller, Robert J., 2013. "Wealth Effects Revisited 1975-2012," Critical Finance Review, now publishers, vol. 2(1), pages 101-128, July.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18667
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  1. John Campbell & Joao Cocco, 2004. "How Do House Prices Affect Consumption? Evidence from Micro Data," 2004 Meeting Papers 357a, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Case, Karl E. & Quigley, John M. & Shiller, Robert J., 2005. "Comparing Wealth Effects: The Stock Market versus the Housing Market," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt28d3s92s, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
  3. Genesove, David & Mayer, Christopher, 2001. "Loss Aversion and Seller Behaviour: Evidence from the Housing Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 2813, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  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. 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 452-63, October.
  6. Karl Case & John Quigley, 2008. "How Housing Booms Unwind: Income Effects, Wealth Effects, and Feedbacks through Financial Markets," International Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 161-180.
  7. Arthur Kennickell & Annamaria Lusardi, 2004. "Disentangling the Importance of the Precautionary Saving Mode," NBER Working Papers 10888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Martha Starr-McCluer, 2002. "Stock Market Wealth and Consumer Spending," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(1), pages 69-79, January.
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