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Liquidity Constraints and Intertemporal Consumer Optimization: Theory and Evidence From Durable Goods

  • Eun Young Chah
  • Valerie A. Ramey
  • Ross M. Starr

This paper develops and tests a new set of stochastic implications of optimal consumption behavior in the presence of borrowing constraints. In a departure from previous models, the theory shows that liquidity constraints imply a distinctive intertemporal relationship between durable and nondurable good~ consumption. The presence of binding, liquidity constraints are manifested as part of an error correction term from the long-run cointegrating relationship between durables and nondurables. When liquidity constraints are binding, the error correction term will have predictive power for the future change in nondurable consumption. Empirical tests of the implications using aggregate data support the hypothesis that liquidity constraints, rather than rule-of-thumb behavior, best explain the excess sensitivity of consumption to predictable changes in income.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3907.

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Date of creation: Nov 1991
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking, 27(1): 272-287, (February 1995)
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3907
Note: EFG
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. 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.
  2. Ben S. Bernanke, 1982. "Adjustment Costs, Durables, and Aggregate Consumption," NBER Working Papers 1038, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Marjorie A. Flavin, 1991. "The Joint Consumption/Asset Demand Decision: A Case Study in Robust Estimation," NBER Working Papers 3802, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Caballero, Ricardo J, 1993. "Durable Goods: An Explanation for Their Slow Adjustment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 351-84, April.
  8. Runkle, David E., 1991. "Liquidity constraints and the permanent-income hypothesis : Evidence from panel data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 73-98, February.
  9. Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 16-88, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  10. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-57, April.
  11. David W. Wilcox, 1987. "Social security benefits, consumption expenditure, and the life cycle hypothesis," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 78, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  12. Giuseppe Bertola & Ricardo J. Caballero, 1990. "Kinked Adjustment Costs and Aggregate Dynamics," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1990, Volume 5, pages 237-296 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Fumio Hayashi, 1985. "Tests for Liquidity Constraints: A Critical Survey," NBER Working Papers 1720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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 117-36, February.
  15. 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.
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