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The Insensitivity of Consumption to News About Income


  • Kenneth D. West


This paper uses a variance bounds test to see whether consumption is too sensitive to news about income to be consistent with a standard permanent income model, under the maintained hypothesis that income has a unit root. It is found that, if anything, consumption is less sensitive than the model would predict. This implication is robust to the representative consumer having private information about his future income that the econometrician does not have, to wealth shocks, and to transitory consumption. This suggests the importance in future research on the model of allowing for factors that tend to make consumption smooth.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth D. West, 1987. "The Insensitivity of Consumption to News About Income," NBER Working Papers 2252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2252
    Note: EFG

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    1. Christiano, Lawrence J. & Eichenbaum, Martin, 1987. "Temporal aggregation and structural inference in macroeconomics," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 63-130, January.
    2. 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.
    3. Grossman, Sanford J & Shiller, Robert J, 1981. "The Determinants of the Variability of Stock Market Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 222-227, May.
    4. Christiano, Lawrence J & Eichenbaum, Martin & Marshall, David, 1991. "The Permanent Income Hypothesis Revisited," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(2), pages 397-423, March.
    5. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & AriƩl Pakes, 1988. "Looking for the News in the Noise. Additional Stochastic Implications of Optimal Consumption Choise," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 9, pages 29-46.
    6. Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J., 1980. "Formulating and estimating dynamic linear rational expectations models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 7-46, May.
    7. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 1981. "Exact linear rational expectations models: specification and estimation," Staff Report 71, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    8. Michener, Ron, 1984. "Permanent income in general equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 297-305, May.
    9. Gregory Mankiw, N. & Shapiro, Matthew D., 1985. "Trends, random walks, and tests of the permanent income hypothesis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 165-174, September.
    10. Bernanke, Ben, 1985. "Adjustment costs, durables, and aggregate consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 41-68, January.
    11. Watson, Mark W., 1986. "Univariate detrending methods with stochastic trends," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 49-75, July.
    12. Charles R. Nelson, 1985. "A Reappraisal of Recent Tests of the Permanent Income Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 1687, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Newey, Whitney & West, Kenneth, 2014. "A simple, positive semi-definite, heteroscedasticity and autocorrelation consistent covariance matrix," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 33(1), pages 125-132.
    14. 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.
    15. Marjorie Flavin, 1985. "Excess Sensitivity of Consumption to Current Income: Liquidity Constraints or Myopia?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 18(1), pages 117-136, February.
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