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The rigidity of choice: lifetime savings under information-processing constraints

  • Tutino, Antonella

This paper studies the implications of information-processing limits on the consumption and savings behavior of households through time. It presents a dynamic model in which consumers rationally choose the size and scope of the information they want to process about their fi�nancial possibilities, constrained by a Shannon channel. The model predicts that people with higher degrees of risk aversion rationally choose higher information. This happens for precautionary reasons since, with fi�nite processing rate, risk averse consumers prefer to be well informed about their fi�nancial possibilities before implementing consumption plan. Moreover, numerical results show that consumers with processing capacity constraints have asymmetric responses to shocks, with negative shocks producing more persistent effects than positive ones. This asymmetry results into more savings. I show that the predictions of the model can be effectively used to study the impact of tax reforms on consumers spending. The results are qualitatively consistent with the evidence on tax rebates (2001, 2008).

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File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/16744/1/MPRA_paper_16744.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 16744.

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Date of creation: 21 Jun 2008
Date of revision: 24 Jul 2009
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:16744
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  1. Cover, James Peery, 1992. "Asymmetric Effects of Positive and Negative Money-Supply Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1261-82, November.
  2. Garcia, Rene & Lusardi, Annamaria & Ng, Serena, 1997. "Excess Sensitivity and Asymmetries in Consumption: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 29(2), pages 154-76, May.
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  7. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 2007. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Changes: Estimates Based on a New Measure of Fiscal Shocks," NBER Working Papers 13264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jordi Mondria, 2006. "Financial Contagion and Attention Allocation," Working Papers tecipa-254, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  9. Yulei Luo, 2008. "Consumption Dynamics under Information Processing Constraints," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(2), pages 366-385, April.
  10. George-Marios Angeletos & Alessandro Pavan, 2004. "Transparency of Information and Coordination in Economies with Investment Complementarities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 91-98, May.
  11. Sims, Christopher A., 2003. "Implications of rational inattention," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 665-690, April.
  12. Caballero, Ricardo J, 1990. "Expenditure on Durable Goods: A Case for Slow Adjustment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 727-43, August.
  13. Campbell, John & Deaton, Angus, 1989. "Why Is Consumption So Smooth?," Scholarly Articles 3221494, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Jinill Kim & Sunghyun Kim & Ernst Schaumburg & Christopher A. Sims, 2003. "Calculating and using second order accurate solutions of discrete time dynamic equilibrium models," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-61, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. Sims, Christopher A., 2005. "Rational inattention: a research agenda," Discussion Paper Series 1: Economic Studies 2005,34, Deutsche Bundesbank, Research Centre.
  16. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1972. "Expectations and the neutrality of money," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 103-124, April.
  17. Susan Dynarski & Jonathan Gruber, 1997. "Can Families Smooth Variable Earnings?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 229-303.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Christopher D Carroll, 2002. "Macroeconomic Expectations of Households and Professional Forecasters," Economics Working Paper Archive 477, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
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