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Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis

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  • Christopher D. Carroll

Abstract

This paper argues that the typical household's saving is better described by a "bufferstock" version than by the traditional version of the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis (LC/PIH) model. Buffer-stock behavior emerges if consumers with important income uncertainty are sufficiently impatient. In the traditional model, consumption growth is determined solely by tastes; in contrast, buffer-stock consumers set average consumption growth equal to average labor income growth, regardless of tastes. The model can explain three empirical puzzles: the [1991]; the the 1930's; and the temporal stability of the household age/wealth profile despite the unpredictability of idiosyncratic wealth changes.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher D. Carroll, 1996. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 5788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5788
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    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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