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Sticky Expectations and Consumption Dynamics

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Listed:
  • Christopher D. Carroll
  • Edmund Crawley
  • Jiri Slacalek
  • Kiichi Tokuoka
  • Matthew N. White

Abstract

Macroeconomic models often invoke consumption “habits” to explain the substantial persistence of aggregate consumption growth. But a large literature has found no evidence of habits in microeconomic datasets that measure the behavior of individual households. We show that the apparent conflict can be explained by a model in which consumers have accurate knowledge of their personal circumstances but ‘sticky expectations’ about the macroeconomy. In our model, the persistence of aggregate consumption growth reflects consumers’ imperfect attention to aggregate shocks. Our proposed degree of (macro) inattention has negligible utility costs, because aggregate shocks constitute only a tiny proportion of the uncertainty that consumers face.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher D. Carroll & Edmund Crawley & Jiri Slacalek & Kiichi Tokuoka & Matthew N. White, 2018. "Sticky Expectations and Consumption Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 24377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24377
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    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles

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