IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Paycheck Receipt and the Timing of Consumption


  • Melvin Stephens Jr.


This paper examines the consumption response to monthly paycheck receipt. Since the amount and arrival date of paychecks are known in advance, the receipt of a paycheck does not coincide with the receipt of new information. Under the basic rational expectations Life-Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis, household consumption should not respond to paycheck arrival. Using data from the United Kingdom's Family Expenditure Survey, this paper finds that household consumption is excessively sensitive to paycheck receipt. The results cannot be explained by any underlying monthly expenditure fluctuations common to all households. The presence of liquidity constraints as measured by wealth can account for the excess sensitivity results although the availability of credit cards cannot.

Suggested Citation

  • Melvin Stephens Jr., 2002. "Paycheck Receipt and the Timing of Consumption," NBER Working Papers 9356, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9356
    Note: EFG LS

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Martin Browning & M. Dolores Collado, 2001. "The Response of Expenditures to Anticipated Income Changes: Panel Data Estimates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 681-692, June.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. George W. Hilton, 1957. "The British Truck System in the Nineteenth Century," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 237-237.
    6. 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.
    7. Shapiro, Matthew D & Slemrod, Joel, 1995. "Consumer Response to the Timing of Income: Evidence from a Change in Tax Withholding," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 274-283, March.
    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. repec:fth:pennfi:69 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Lusardi, Annamaria, 1996. "Permanent Income, Current Income, and Consumption: Evidence from Two Panel Data Sets," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(1), pages 81-90, January.
    11. James J. Heckman & Thomas E. Macurdy, 1980. "A Life Cycle Model of Female Labour Supply," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 47-74.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. Shapiro, Jesse M., 2005. "Is there a daily discount rate? Evidence from the food stamp nutrition cycle," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 303-325, February.
    2. Damon, Amy L. & King, Robert P. & Leibtag, Ephraim S., 2006. "Household Food Expenditures Across Income Groups: Do Poor Households Spend Differently than Rich Ones?," Conference Papers 6643, University of Minnesota, Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy.
    3. Evans, William N. & Moore, Timothy J., 2011. "The short-term mortality consequences of income receipt," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1410-1424.
    4. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:8:y:2008:i:5:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Jacob L. Vigdor, 2004. "Liquidity Constraints and Housing Prices: Theory and Evidence from the VA Mortgage," NBER Working Papers 10611, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Huffman, David B. & Barenstein, Matias, 2004. "Riches to Rags Every Month? The Fall in Consumption Expenditures Between Paydays," IZA Discussion Papers 1430, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Vigdor, Jacob L., 2006. "Liquidity constraints and housing prices: Theory and evidence from the VA Mortgage Program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1579-1600, September.
    8. Juan Carlos Chavez-Martin del Campo, 2008. "On the design of an optimal transfer schedule with time inconsistent preferences," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 8(5), pages 1-7.

    More about this item

    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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:9356. 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: .

    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 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.

    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.