IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Intertemporal Allocation of Consumption: Theory and Evidence

  • Orazio P. Attanasio

Liquidity constraints and, more generally, imperfections in credit markets, can be extremely important for the intertemporal allocation of consumption and have received a substantial amount of attention in the theoretical and empirical literature on consumption. In the first part of the paper I review the reasons why liquidity constraints are important. Unfortunately, for several reasons, it is not easy to test for the presence of liquidity constraints. Aggregation issues preclude the use of aggregate time series data for such a purpose. Tests based on micro data, however, are complicated by some serious identification problems. If a simple equilibrium model does not fit some data set, one can change the assumptions about the opportunity set available to the economic agents or the specification of their preferences. For instance, empirical evidence that detects excess sensitivity of consumption to income could be explained by liquidity constraints or by non separability between consumption and leisure. However, the available evidence shows that it is possible to find flexible specifications of preferences that fit consumption movements at business cycle frequencies. I also present some simulation evidence that shows that for many plausible parameter configurations, liquidity constraints are likely to be relevant only for a few economic agents. In the last part of the paper I present some new evidence on the relevance of liquidity constraints based on debt holding data. The data indicate that the demand for debt of individuals more likely to be liquidity constrained is less elastic to changes in the interest rate.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4811.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4811.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Jul 1994
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Attanasio, Orazio P., 1995. "The intertemporal allocation of consumption: theory and evidence," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 39-56, June.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4811
Note: EFG
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Flemming, J S, 1973. "The Consumption Function when Capital Markets are Imperfect: The Permanent Income Hypothesis Reconsidered," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(2), pages 160-72, July.
  2. Pencavel, John, 1987. "Labor supply of men: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-102 Elsevier.
  3. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1991. "Why is Italy's Savings Rate So High?," CEPR Discussion Papers 572, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Deaton, A. & Paxson, C., 1993. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," Papers 168, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  5. Bean, Charles R, 1985. "The Estimation of 'Surprise' Models and the 'Surprise' Consumption Function," CEPR Discussion Papers 54, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Lusardi, A., 1992. "Permanent Income, Current Income and Consumption: Evidence form Panel Data," Papers 9253, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  7. 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.
  8. Deaton, Angus, 1985. "Panel data from time series of cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 109-126.
  9. Attanasio, O.P. & Browning, M.J., 1993. "Consumption over the life cycle and over the business cycle," Discussion Paper 1993-14, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  10. Keane, Michael P & Runkle, David E, 1992. "On the Estimation of Panel-Data Models with Serial Correlation When Instruments Are Not Strictly Exogenous," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 10(1), pages 1-9, January.
  11. John Y. Campbell, 1986. "Does Saving Anticipate Declining Labor Income? An Alternative Test of the Permanent Income Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 1805, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. repec:adr:anecst:y:1993:i:29:p:08 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1982. "The use of time series processes to model the error structure of earnings in a longitudinal data analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 83-114, January.
  15. Hansen, Lars Peter & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1982. "Generalized Instrumental Variables Estimation of Nonlinear Rational Expectations Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1269-86, September.
  16. Hansen, G.D. & Imrohoroglu, A., 1990. "The Role Of Unemployment Insurance In An Economy With Liquidity Constraints And Moral Hazard," Papers 21, California Los Angeles - Applied Econometrics.
  17. Orazio P. Attanasio & Guglielmo Weber, 1993. "Consumption Growth, the Interest Rate and Aggregation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 631-649.
  18. F. Thomas Juster & Robert P. Shay, 1964. "Consumer Sensitivity to Finance Rates: An Empirical and Analytical Investigation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number just64-2, September.
  19. Rob Alessie & Michael Devereux & Guglielmo Weber, 1993. "Intertemporal consumption, durables and liquidity constraints: a cohort analysis," IFS Working Papers W93/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  20. 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.
  21. Chah, Eun Young & Ramey, Valerie A & Starr, Ross M, 1995. "Liquidity Constraints and Intertemporal Consumer Optimization: Theory and Evidence from Durable Goods," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 27(1), pages 272-87, February.
  22. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-45, March.
  23. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. Miles, David, 1992. "Housing markets, consumption and financial liberalisation in the major economies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 1093-1127, June.
  25. Muellbauer, John, 1986. "Habits, Rationality and Myopia in the Life-Cycle Consumption Function," CEPR Discussion Papers 112, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  26. Deaton, A., 1989. "Saving And Liquidity Constraints," Papers 153, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  27. A. Maureen O'Brien & Clifford B. Hawley, 1986. "The Labor Force Participation Behavior of Married Women under Conditions of Constraints on Borrowing," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(2), pages 267-278.
  28. Alessie, R.J.M. & Melenberg, B. & Weber, G., 1987. "Consumption, leisure and earnings-related liquidity constraints : A note," Research Memorandum FEW 295, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  29. Fumio Hayashi, 1985. "The Effect of Liquidity Constraints on Consumption: A Cross-Sectional Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(1), pages 183-206.
  30. Walter Dolde & James Tobin, 1971. "Wealth, Liquidity, and Consumption," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 311, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  31. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
  32. R. Glenn Hubbard & Kenneth L. Judd, 1986. "Liquidity Constraints, Fiscal Policy, and Consumption," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 17(1), pages 1-60.
  33. 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.
  34. Christopher A. Pissarides, 1978. "Liquidity Considerations in the Theory of Consumption," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 92(2), pages 279-296.
  35. Hayashi, Fumio, 1982. "The Permanent Income Hypothesis: Estimation and Testing by Instrumental Variables," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 895-916, October.
  36. Scheinkman, Jose A & Weiss, Laurence, 1986. "Borrowing Constraints and Aggregate Economic Activity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(1), pages 23-45, January.
  37. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
  38. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-57, April.
  39. Maghir, C. & Weber, G., 1993. "Intertemporal Non-Separability or Borrowing Restrictions? A Disaggregate Analysis Using the US CEX Panel," Papers 9352, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  40. 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.
  41. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
  42. Heckman, James J. & MaCurdy, Thomas E., 1988. "Empirical tests of labor-market equilibrium: An evaluation," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 231-258, January.
  43. Moffitt, Robert, 1993. "Identification and estimation of dynamic models with a time series of repeated cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1-2), pages 99-123, September.
  44. Davidson, James E H, et al, 1978. "Econometric Modelling of the Aggregate Time-Series Relationship between Consumers' Expenditure and Income in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 88(352), pages 661-92, December.
  45. Tullio Jappelli, 1990. "Who is Credit Constrained in the U. S. Economy?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(1), pages 219-234.
  46. Tullio Jappelli & Marco Pagano, 1994. "Saving, Growth, and Liquidity Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 83-109.
  47. N. Gregory Mankiw & Julio J. Rotemberg & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "Intertemporal Substitution in Macroeconomics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(1), pages 225-251.
  48. Fumio Hayashi, 1985. "Tests for Liquidity Constraints: A Critical Survey," NBER Working Papers 1720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  49. Brugiavini, A. & Weber, G., 1992. "Durables and Nondurables Consumption: Edidence from Italian Household Data," Papers 184, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
  50. Browning, Martin & Meghir, Costas, 1991. "The Effects of Male and Female Labor Supply on Commodity Demands," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(4), pages 925-51, July.
  51. Stoker, Thomas M, 1993. "Empirical Approaches to the Problem of Aggregation Over Individuals," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1827-74, December.
  52. Thurow, Lester C, 1969. "The Optimum Lifetime Distribution of Consumption Expenditures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(3), pages 324-30, June.
  53. Browning, Martin & Deaton, Angus & Irish, Margaret, 1985. "A Profitable Approach to Labor Supply and Commodity Demands over the Life-Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(3), pages 503-43, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4811. 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: ()

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

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

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.