IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/25086.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Asymmetric Consumption Smoothing

Author

Listed:
  • Brian Baugh
  • Itzhak Ben-David
  • Hoonsuk Park
  • Jonathan A. Parker

Abstract

Analyzing account-level data from an account aggregator, we find that households increase consumption when they receive (expected) tax refunds, as if they face liquidity constraints. However, these same households smooth consumption when making payments in other years, primarily by transferring funds among liquid accounts. Even households carrying credit card debt smooth consumption when making payments, and even highly-liquid households spend out of refunds. This behavior is inconsistent with pure liquidity constraints or hand-to-mouth behavior and most consistent with a mental accounting life-cycle model.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian Baugh & Itzhak Ben-David & Hoonsuk Park & Jonathan A. Parker, 2018. "Asymmetric Consumption Smoothing," NBER Working Papers 25086, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25086
    Note: CF EFG ME
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w25086.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Timothy M. Smeeding & Katherin Ross Phillips & Michael O'Connor, 2000. "The EITC: Expectation, Knowledge, Use and Economic and Social Mobility," JCPR Working Papers 139, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    2. Zeldes, Stephen P, 1989. "Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 305-346, April.
    3. Daniel Aaronson & Sumit Agarwal & Eric French, 2012. "The Spending and Debt Response to Minimum Wage Hikes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3111-3139, December.
    4. Jonathan A. Parker, 2017. "Why Don't Households Smooth Consumption? Evidence from a $25 Million Experiment," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 153-183, October.
    5. Brian Baugh & Itzhak Ben‐David & Hoonsuk Park, 2018. "Can Taxes Shape an Industry? Evidence from the Implementation of the “Amazon Tax”," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 73(4), pages 1819-1855, August.
    6. Shea, John, 1995. "Myopia, Liquidity Constraints, and Aggregate Consumption: A Simple Test," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(3), pages 798-805, August.
    7. Scott R. Baker, 2018. "Debt and the Response to Household Income Shocks: Validation and Application of Linked Financial Account Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1504-1557.
    8. Arna Olafsson & Michaela Pagel, 2018. "The Liquid Hand-to-Mouth: Evidence from Personal Finance Management Software," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 31(11), pages 4398-4446.
    9. Melvin Stephens Jr., 2003. ""3rd of tha Month": Do Social Security Recipients Smooth Consumption Between Checks?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 406-422, March.
    10. Michael Gelman & Shachar Kariv & Matthew D. Shapiro & Dan Silverman, 2022. "Rational Illiquidity and Consumption: Theory and Evidence from Income Tax Withholding and Refunds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 112(9), pages 2959-2991, September.
    11. Peter Ganong & Pascal Noel, 2019. "Consumer Spending during Unemployment: Positive and Normative Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(7), pages 2383-2424, July.
    12. Sumit Agarwal & Chunlin Liu & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2007. "The Reaction of Consumer Spending and Debt to Tax Rebates-Evidence from Consumer Credit Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 986-1019, December.
    13. Richard H. Thaler, 2008. "Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(1), pages 15-25, 01-02.
    14. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Consumption, Income, and Interest Rates: Reinterpreting the Time Series Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 185-246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Nicholas S. Souleles & Jonathan A. Parker & David S. Johnson, 2006. "Household Expenditure and the Income Tax Rebates of 2001," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1589-1610, December.
    17. Reis, Ricardo, 2006. "Inattentive consumers," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 1761-1800, November.
    18. Arkes, Hal R. & Joyner, Cynthia A. & Pezzo, Mark V. & Nash, Jane Gradwohl & Siegel-Jacobs, Karen & Stone, Eric, 1994. "The Psychology of Windfall Gains," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 331-347, September.
    19. Andreas Fuster & Greg Kaplan & Basit Zafar, 2021. "What Would You Do with $500? Spending Responses to Gains, Losses, News, and Loans [The Spending and Debt Response to Minimum Wage Hikes]," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 88(4), pages 1760-1795.
    20. Smeeding, Timothy M. & Phillips, Katherin Ross & O’Connor, Michael, 2000. "The EITC: Expectation, Knowledge, Use, and Economic and Social Mobility," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 1187-210, December.
    21. Damon Jones, 2012. "Inertia and Overwithholding: Explaining the Prevalence of Income Tax Refunds," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 158-185, February.
    22. Itzhak Ben-David & Marieke Bos, 2021. "Impulsive Consumption and Financial Well-Being: Evidence from an Increase in the Availability of Alcohol [Identification of causal effects using instrumental variables]," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 34(5), pages 2608-2647.
    23. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2005. "Consumption versus Expenditure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 919-948, October.
    24. Tullio Jappelli & Jörn-Steffen Pischke & Nicholas S. Souleles, 1998. "Testing For Liquidity Constraints In Euler Equations With Complementary Data Sources," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 251-262, May.
    25. Lorenz Kueng, 2018. "Excess Sensitivity of High-Income Consumers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 133(4), pages 1693-1751.
    26. Sumit Agarwal & Wenlan Qian, 2014. "Consumption and Debt Response to Unanticipated Income Shocks: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Singapore," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(12), pages 4205-4230, December.
    27. repec:fth:pennfi:69 is not listed on IDEAS
    28. Melvin Stephens, 2001. "The Long-Run Consumption Effects Of Earnings Shocks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(1), pages 28-36, February.
    29. Greg Kaplan & Giovanni L. Violante & Justin Weidner, 2014. "The Wealthy Hand-to-Mouth," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 45(1 (Spring), pages 77-153.
    30. Nicholas S. Souleles, 1999. "The Response of Household Consumption to Income Tax Refunds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 947-958, September.
    31. Gelman, Michael & Kariv, Shachar & Shapiro, Matthew D. & Silverman, Dan & Tadelis, Steven, 2020. "How individuals respond to a liquidity shock: Evidence from the 2013 government shutdown," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 189(C).
    32. Greg Kaplan & Giovanni L. Violante & Justin Weidner, 2014. "The Wealthy Hand-to-Mouth," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 48(1 (Spring), pages 77-153.
    33. Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "The Reaction of Household Consumption to Predictable Changes in Social Security Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 959-973, September.
    34. Caballero, Ricardo J, 1995. "Near-Rationality, Heterogeneity, and Aggregate Consumption," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(1), pages 29-48, February.
    35. Dimitris Christelis & Dimitris Georgarakos & Tullio Jappelli & Luigi Pistaferri & Maarten van Rooij, 2019. "Asymmetric Consumption Effects of Transitory Income Shocks," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 129(622), pages 2322-2341.
    36. Chang-Tai Hsieh, 2003. "Do Consumers React to Anticipated Income Changes? Evidence from the Alaska Permanent Fund," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 397-405, March.
    37. Deniz Aydin, 2022. "Consumption Response to Credit Expansions: Evidence from Experimental Assignment of 45,307 Credit Lines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 112(1), pages 1-40, January.
    38. Slemrod, Joel, et al, 1997. "April 15 Syndrome," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(4), pages 695-709, October.
    39. Stephens Melvin, 2006. "Paycheque Receipt and the Timing of Consumption," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(513), pages 680-701, July.
    40. Souleles, Nicholas S., 2000. "College tuition and household savings and consumption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 185-207, August.
    41. Smeeding, Timothy M. & Phillips, Katherin Ross & O’Connor, Michael, 2000. "The EITC: Expectation, Knowledge, Use, and Economic and Social Mobility," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 53(4), pages 1187-1210, December.
    42. Nilton Porto & J. Michael Collins, 2017. "The Role of Refund Expectations in Savings: Evidence from Volunteer Income Tax Preparation Programs in the United States," Journal of Consumer Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 183-199, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Fisher, Jonathan D. & Johnson, David S. & Smeeding, Timothy M. & Thompson, Jeffrey P., 2020. "Estimating the marginal propensity to consume using the distributions of income, consumption, and wealth," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    2. Bruno Albuquerque & Georgina Green, 2022. "Financial Concerns and the Marginal Propensity to Consume in COVID Times: Evidence from UK Survey Data," IMF Working Papers 2022/047, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Jason Allen & Robert Clark & Shaoteng Li & Nicolas Vincent, 2022. "Debt‐relief programs and money left on the table: Evidence from Canada's response to COVID‐19," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 55(S1), pages 9-53, February.
    4. Bernard, René, 2022. "Mental Accounting and the Marginal Propensity to Consume," VfS Annual Conference 2022 (Basel): Big Data in Economics 264186, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Kovacs, Agnes & Rondinelli, Concetta & Trucchi, Serena, 2021. "Permanent versus transitory income shocks over the business cycle," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 139(C).
    6. Peter Ganong & Pascal Noel, 2019. "Consumer Spending during Unemployment: Positive and Normative Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(7), pages 2383-2424, July.
    7. Nemeczek, Fabian & Radermacher, Jan, 2022. "Personality-augmented MPC: Linking survey and transaction data to explain MPC heterogeneity by Big Five personality traits," SAFE Working Paper Series 348, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
    8. Timmons, Shane & Robertson, Deirdre & Lunn, Pete, 2022. "Combining nudges and boosts to increase precautionary saving: A large-scale field experiment," Papers WP722, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    9. Katya Kartashova & Xiaoqing Zhou, 2020. "How Do Mortgage Rate Resets Affect Consumer Spending and Debt Repayment? Evidence from Canadian Consumers," Staff Working Papers 20-18, Bank of Canada.
    10. Vellekoop, Nathanael, 2018. "Explaining intra-monthly consumption patterns: The timing of income or the timing of consumption commitments?," SAFE Working Paper Series 237, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
    11. Daria Pignalosa, 2021. "The Euler Equation Approach: Critical Implications of Recent Developments in the Theory of Intertemporal Choice," Bulletin of Political Economy, Bulletin of Political Economy, vol. 15(1), pages 1-43, June.
    12. Choi, Kyoung Jin & Jeon, Junkee & Koo, Hyeng Keun, 2022. "Intertemporal preference with loss aversion: Consumption and risk-attitude," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 200(C).
    13. Daniel H. Cooper & Giovanni P. Olivei, 2021. "High-Frequency Spending Responses to Government Transfer Payments," Working Papers 21-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Christopher D. Carroll & Edmund Crawley & Jiri Slacalek & Kiichi Tokuoka & Matthew N. White, 2020. "Sticky Expectations and Consumption Dynamics," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 40-76, July.
    2. Bräuer, Konstantin & Hackethal, Andreas & Hanspal, Tobin, 2020. "Consuming dividends," SAFE Working Paper Series 280, Leibniz Institute for Financial Research SAFE.
    3. Fuchs-Schündeln, N. & Hassan, T.A., 2016. "Natural Experiments in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 923-1012, Elsevier.
    4. Choi, Kyoung Jin & Jeon, Junkee & Koo, Hyeng Keun, 2022. "Intertemporal preference with loss aversion: Consumption and risk-attitude," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 200(C).
    5. Tomas Havranek & Anna Sokolova, 2020. "Do Consumers Really Follow a Rule of Thumb? Three Thousand Estimates from 144 Studies Say 'Probably Not'," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 35, pages 97-122, January.
    6. Cameron LAPOINT & UNAYAMA Takashi, 2020. "Winners, Losers, and Near-Rationality: Heterogeneity in the MPC out of a Large Stimulus Tax Rebate," Discussion papers 20067, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    7. Sumit Agarwal & Chunlin Liu & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2007. "The Reaction of Consumer Spending and Debt to Tax Rebates-Evidence from Consumer Credit Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(6), pages 986-1019, December.
    8. Jonathan A. Parker & Nicholas S. Souleles & David S. Johnson & Robert McClelland, 2013. "Consumer Spending and the Economic Stimulus Payments of 2008," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(6), pages 2530-2553, October.
    9. Edmund S. Crawley & Andreas Kuchler, 2020. "Consumption Heterogeneity: Micro Drivers and Macro Implications," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2020-005, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    10. Nicholas S. Souleles & Jonathan A. Parker & David S. Johnson, 2006. "Household Expenditure and the Income Tax Rebates of 2001," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1589-1610, December.
    11. Andreas Fagereng & Martin B. Holm & Gisle J. Natvik, 2021. "MPC Heterogeneity and Household Balance Sheets," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 1-54, October.
    12. Rodney Ramcharan & Amir Kermani & Marco Di Maggio, 2015. "Monetary Policy Pass-Through: Household Consumption and Voluntary Deleveraging," 2015 Meeting Papers 256, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    13. Agarwal, Sumit & Koo, Kang Mo & Qian, Wenlan, 2022. "Consumption response to temporary price shock: Evidence from Singapore's annual sale event," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 51(C).
    14. Baugh, Brian & Ben-David, Itzhak & Park, Hoonsuk, 2013. "Disentangling Financial Constraints, Precautionary Savings, and Myopia: Household Behavior Surrounding Federal Tax Returns," Working Paper Series 2013-20, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
    15. Broda, Christian & Parker, Jonathan A., 2014. "The Economic Stimulus Payments of 2008 and the aggregate demand for consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(S), pages 20-36.
    16. Agarwal, Sumit & Chomsisengphet, Souphala & Meier, Stephan & Zou, Xin, 2020. "In the mood to consume: Effect of sunshine on credit card spending," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 121(C).
    17. Daria Pignalosa, 2021. "The Euler Equation Approach: Critical Implications of Recent Developments in the Theory of Intertemporal Choice," Bulletin of Political Economy, Bulletin of Political Economy, vol. 15(1), pages 1-43, June.
    18. Jonathan A. Parker, 2015. "Why Don't Households Smooth Consumption? Evidence from a 25 Million Dollar Experiment," NBER Working Papers 21369, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Sumit Agarwal, 2015. "Age of Decision: Pension Savings Withdrawal and Consumption and Debt Response," 2015 Meeting Papers 709, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    20. Tal Gross & Timothy J. Layton & Daniel Prinz, 2022. "The Liquidity Sensitivity of Healthcare Consumption: Evidence from Social Security Payments," American Economic Review: Insights, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 175-190, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • G4 - Financial Economics - - Behavioral Finance
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:25086. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.