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The Life-Cycle Permanent-Income Model and Consumer Durables

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  • Avner Bar-Ilan
  • Alan S. Blinder

Abstract

This paper presents an extension of the life-cycle permanent-income model of consumption to the case of a durable good whose purchase involves lumpy trans- actions costs. Where individual behavior is concerned, the implications of the model are different in some respects from those of standard consumption theory. Specifically, rather than choose an optimal path for the service flow from durables, the optimizing consumer will choose an optimal range and try to keep his service flow inside that range. The dynamics implied by this behavior is different from that of the stock adjustment model. Properties of aggregate durables consumption are derived by explicit aggregation. In particular, it is shown that expenditures on durables display very large short-run elasticity to changes in permanent income. Empirical tests of the sort suggested by Hall (1978) generally produce results that are in line with the predictions of the theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Avner Bar-Ilan & Alan S. Blinder, 1987. "The Life-Cycle Permanent-Income Model and Consumer Durables," NBER Working Papers 2149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2149
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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 971-987, December.
    2. J. S. Flemming, 1969. "The Utility of Wealth and the Utility of Windfalls," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(1), pages 55-66.
    3. Abel, Andrew B., 1980. "Empirical investment equations : An integrative framework," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 39-91, January.
    4. Bernanke, Ben, 1985. "Adjustment costs, durables, and aggregate consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 41-68, January.
    5. Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762, April.
    6. Bils, Mark J, 1985. "Real Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 666-689, August.
    7. 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.
    8. George A. Akerlof, 1970. "The Market for "Lemons": Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500.
    9. Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1982. "Hall's consumption hypothesis and durable goods," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 417-425.
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    Cited by:

    1. Caballero, Ricardo J, 1993. "Durable Goods: An Explanation for Their Slow Adjustment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 351-384, April.
    2. De Gregorio, Jose & Guidotti, Pablo E & Vegh, Carlos A, 1998. "Inflation Stabilisation and the Consumption of Durable Goods," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 105-131, January.
    3. Joseph Nichols, 2004. "A Life-cycle Model with Housing, Portfolio Allocation, and Mortgage Financing," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 205, Econometric Society.
    4. Maitra, Sudeshna, 2016. "The poor get poorer: Tracking relative poverty in India using a durables-based mixture model," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 110-120.
    5. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M. R. A. Engel, 1993. "Microeconomic Adjustment Hazards and Aggregate Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 359-383.

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