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House Prices and Consumer Spending

Listed author(s):
  • David Berger
  • Veronica Guerrieri
  • Guido Lorenzoni
  • Joseph Vavra

Recent empirical work shows large consumption responses to house price movements. This is at odds with a prominent theoretical view which, using the logic of the permanent income hypothesis, argues that consumption responses should be small. We show that, in contrast to this view, workhorse models of consumption with incomplete markets calibrated to rich cross-sectional micro facts actually predict large consumption responses, in line with the data. To explain this result, we show that consumption responses to permanent house price shocks can be approximated by a simple and robust rule-of-thumb formula: the marginal propensity to consume out of temporary income times the value of housing. In our model, consumption responses depend on a number of factors such as the level and distribution of debt, the size and history of house price shocks, and the level of credit supply. Each of these effects is naturally explained with our simple formula.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 21667.

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Date of creation: Oct 2015
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21667
Note: CF EFG LS ME PE
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  1. Veronica Guerrieri & Guido Lorenzoni, 2011. "Credit Crises, Precautionary Savings, and the Liquidity Trap," NBER Working Papers 17583, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Midrigan, Virgiliu & Philippon, Thomas, 2011. "Household Leverage and the Recession," CEPR Discussion Papers 8381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Kurt Mitman & Gianluca Violante & Greg Kaplan, 2015. "Consumption and House Prices in the Great Recession: Model Meets Evidence," 2015 Meeting Papers 275, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Joseph Vavra, 2014. "Inflation Dynamics and Time-Varying Volatility: New Evidence and an Ss Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 215-258.
  6. Gauti B. Eggertsson & Paul Krugman, 2012. "Debt, Deleveraging, and the Liquidity Trap: A Fisher-Minsky-Koo Approach," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1469-1513.
  7. Johannes Stroebel & Joseph Vavra, 2014. "House Prices, Local Demand, and Retail Prices," NBER Working Papers 20710, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. David Berger & Joseph Vavra, 2015. "Consumption Dynamics During Recessions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 83, pages 101-154, 01.
  9. Eugenio M Cerutti & Jihad Dagher & Giovanni Dell'Ariccia, 2015. "Housing Finance and Real-Estate Booms; A Cross-Country Perspective," IMF Staff Discussion Notes 15/12, International Monetary Fund.
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