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Precautionary Saving and the Marginal Propensity to Consume

  • Miles S. Kimball

The marginal propensity to consume out of wealth is important for evaluating the effects of taxation on consumption, assessing the possibility of multiple equilibria due to aggregate demand spillovers, and explaining observed variations in consumption. It is also a component of the interest elasticity of consumption and the risk aversion of the value function which gives the expected present value of utility as a function of wealth. This paper analyzes the effect of uncertainty on the marginal propensity to consume within the context of the Permanent Income Hypothesis. Given plausible conditions on the utility function, income risk is found to raise the marginal propensity to consume out of wealth in a multiperiod model with many risky securities. The marginal investment portfolio for additions to wealth is also characterized.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3403.

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Date of creation: Jul 1990
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Publication status: published as With N. Gregory Mankiw, published as "Precautionary Saving and the Timingof Taxes", JPE, Vol. 97, no. 4 (1989): 863-879.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3403
Note: ME
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  1. Pratt, John W & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1987. "Proper Risk Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 143-54, January.
  2. Hansen, Lars Peter & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1983. "Stochastic Consumption, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Asset Returns," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 249-65, April.
  3. Robert E. Hall & Frederic S. Mishkin, 1980. "The Sensitivity of Consumption to Transitory Income: Estimates from Panel Data on Households," NBER Working Papers 0505, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Kimball, Miles S & Mankiw, N Gregory, 1989. "Precautionary Saving and the Timing of Taxes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 863-79, August.
  5. Dreze, Jacques H. & Modigliani, Franco, 1972. "Consumption decisions under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 308-335, December.
  6. 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 971-87, December.
  7. Cantor, Richard, 1985. "The consumption function and the precautionary demand for savings," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 207-210.
  8. Grossman, Sanford J. & Shiller, Robert J., 1982. "Consumption correlatedness and risk measurement in economies with non-traded assets and heterogeneous information," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 195-210, July.
  9. Miles S. Kimball, 1989. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," NBER Working Papers 2848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Robert B. Barsky & N. Gregory Mankiw & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1987. "Ricardian Consumers With Keynesian Propensities," NBER Working Papers 1400, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Grossman, S J & Melino, Angelo & Shiller, Robert J, 1987. "Estimating the Continuous-Time Consumption-Based Asset-Pricing Model," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 5(3), pages 315-27, July.
  12. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1984. "Debt, Deficits and Finite Horizons," NBER Working Papers 1389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Romer, David & Williams, Steve, 1981. "Risk Aversion with Random Initial Wealth," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 911-20, June.
  14. Merton, Robert C., 1971. "Optimum consumption and portfolio rules in a continuous-time model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 373-413, December.
  15. Kimball, Miles S, 1988. "Farmers' Cooperatives as Behavior Toward Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 224-32, March.
  16. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
  17. N. Gregory Mankiw, 1986. "The Equity Premium and the Concentration of Aggregate Shocks," NBER Working Papers 1788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Douglas W. Elmendorf & Miles S. Kimball, 1991. "Taxation of Labor Income and the Demand For Risky Assets," NBER Working Papers 3904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Miller, Bruce L., 1976. "The effect on optimal consumption of increased uncertainty in labor income in the multiperiod case," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 154-167, August.
  20. 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 222-27, May.
  21. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
  22. Irwin Friend & Joel Hasbrouck, . "Effect of Inflation on the Profitability and Valuation of U.S. Corporations," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 04-82, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  23. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1978. "Asset Prices in an Exchange Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(6), pages 1429-45, November.
  24. Breeden, Douglas T., 1986. "Consumption, production, inflation and interest rates : A synthesis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 3-39, May.
  25. Friend, Irwin & Blume, Marshall E, 1975. "The Demand for Risky Assets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 900-922, December.
  26. Sandmo, Agnar, 1970. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Saving Decisions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(3), pages 353-60, July.
  27. Irwin Friend & Joel Hasbrouck, . "Effect of Inflation on the Profitability and Valuation of U.S. Corporations," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 4-82, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
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