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Wealth, Credit Conditions and Consumption: Evidence from South Africa

  • Janine Aron
  • John Muellbauer

There is widespread disagreement about the role of housing wealth in explaining consumption.� This paper exploits liquid and illiquid wealth time series from household balance sheet data for South Africa, previously constructed by the authors, to explain fluctuations in the ratios of consumption and household debt to income in South Africa, from 1971 to 2005.� The paper emphasizes the role of substantial credit liberalization and of wealth, treating credit conditions as a latent variable with key interactions with drivers of consumption and debt.� Credit conditions are proxied by a spline function entering jointly estimated consumption, debt and income expectations equations in a 'latent interactive variable equation system' (LIVES).� The empirical results corroborate the theory in the paper, confirming that consumption relative to income is driven by credit liberalization, fluctuations in a range of asset values and asset accumulation, uncertainty and income expectations, inter alia.� The paper confirms a collateral interpretation of housing wealth on consumption as opposed to a life-cycle interpretation.� The paper also throws important light on the monetary policy transmission mechanism in South Africa.

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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 580.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2011
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:580
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  1. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller & John M. Quigley, 2001. "Comparing Wealth Effects: The Stock Market Versus the Housing Market," NBER Working Papers 8606, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Bayoumi, Tamim A, 1993. "Financial Deregulation and Consumption in the United Kingdom," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(3), pages 536-39, August.
  3. Aoki, Kosuke & Proudman, James & Vlieghe, Gertjan, 2004. "House prices, consumption, and monetary policy: a financial accelerator approach," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 414-435, October.
  4. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1, May.
  5. John V. Duca & John Muellbauer & Anthony Murphy, 2010. "Housing markets and the financial crisis of 2007-2009: lessons for the future," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 33613, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Miles, David, 1992. "Housing markets, consumption and financial liberalisation in the major economies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 1093-1127, June.
  7. Deaton, A., 1989. "Saving And Liquidity Constraints," Papers 153, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  8. Christopher D. Carroll, 2001. "A Theory of the Consumption Function, With and Without Liquidity Constraints (Expanded Version)," NBER Working Papers 8387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Janine Aron & John Muellbauer, 2002. "Interest rate effects on output: evidence from a GDP forecasting model for South Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2002-04, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  10. Campbell, John Y. & Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1991. "The response of consumption to income : A cross-country investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 723-756, May.
  11. Oriana Bandiera & Gerard Caprio Jr. & Patrick Honohan & Fabio Schiantarelli, 1998. "Does Financial Reform Raise or Reduce Savings?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 413, Boston College Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. Sarno, Lucio & Taylor, Mark P., 1998. "Real Interest Rates, Liquidity Constraints and Financial Deregulation: Private Consumption Behavior in the U.K," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 221-242, April.
  14. Aron, Janine & Duca, John V & Muellbauer, John & Murata, Keiko & Murphy, Anthony, 2010. "Credit, Housing Collateral and Consumption: Evidence from the UK, Japan and the US," CEPR Discussion Papers 7876, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Janine Aron & John Muellbauer, 2000. "Personal and corporate saving in South Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2000-21, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  16. Muellbauer, John & Williams, David M, 2011. "Credit Conditions and the Real Economy: The Elephant in the Room," CEPR Discussion Papers 8386, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Orazio P. Attanasio & Laura Blow & Robert Hamilton & Andrew Leicester, 2009. "Booms and Busts: Consumption, House Prices and Expectations," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(301), pages 20-50, 02.
  18. Jiri Slacalek, 2006. "What Drives Personal Consumption?: The Role of Housing and Financial Wealth," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 647, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  19. Janine Aron & John Muellbauer, 2006. "Estimates Of Household Sector Wealth For South Africa, 1970-2003," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 52(2), pages 285-307, 06.
  20. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1992. "Saving, Growth and Liquidity Constraints," CEPR Discussion Papers 662, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Milton Friedman, 1957. "Introduction to "A Theory of the Consumption Function"," NBER Chapters, in: A Theory of the Consumption Function, pages 1-6 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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