IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Expectations-Based Reference-Dependent Life-Cycle Consumption

  • Pagel, Michaela

I incorporate expectations-based reference-dependent preferences into a dynamic stochastic model to explain three major life-cycle consumption facts; the intuitions behind these three implications constitute novel connections between recent advances in behavioral economics and prominent ideas in the macro consumption literature. First, expectations-based loss aversion rationalizes excess smoothness and sensitivity in consumption, the puzzling empirical observation of lagged consumption responses to income shocks. Intuitively, in the event of an adverse shock, the agent delays painful cuts in consumption to allow his reference point to decrease. Second, the preferences generate a hump-shaped consumption profile. Early in life, consumption is low due to a first-order precautionary-savings motive, but as uncertainty resolves, this motive is dominated by time-inconsistent overconsumption, forcing consumption to decline toward the end of life. Third, consumption drops at retirement. When uncertainty is absent, the agent does not overconsume because he dislikes the associated certain loss in future consumption. Additionally, I obtain several new predictions about consumption; compare the preferences with habit formation, hyperbolic discounting, and temptation disutility; and structurally estimate the preference parameters.

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:
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 47138.

in new window

Date of creation: 15 Feb 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:47138
Contact details of provider: Postal: Schackstr. 4, D-80539 Munich, Germany
Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2219
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-3900
Web page:

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. Orazio P. Attanasio & Guglielmo Weber, 2010. "Consumption and Saving: Models of Intertemporal Allocation and Their Implications for Public Policy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(3), pages 693-751, September.
  2. Orazio Attanasio, 1993. "A cohort analysis of saving behaviour by US households," IFS Working Papers W93/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. Angus Deaton, 1986. "Life-Cycle Models of Consumption: Is the Evidence Consistent with the Theory?," NBER Working Papers 1910, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. repec:oup:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:1:p:1-55 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2007. "Reference-Dependent Risk Attitudes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1047-1073, September.
  6. Johannes Abeler & Armin Falk & Lorenz Goette & David Huffman, 2009. "Reference Points and Effort Provision," Discussion Papers 2009-02, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  7. David Gill & Victoria Prowse, 2011. "A Structural Analysis of Disappointment Aversion in a Real Effort Competition," Discussion Papers 2011001, University of Oxford, Nuffield College.
  8. Keith M. Marzilli Ericson & Andreas Fuster, 2011. "Expectations as Endowments: Evidence on Reference-Dependent Preferences from Exchange and Valuation Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1879-1907.
  9. Vincent P Crawford & Juanjuan Meng, 2008. "New York City Cabdrivers’ Labor Supply Revisited: Reference-Dependent Preferences with Rational-Expectations Targets for Hours and Income," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000002281, David K. Levine.
  10. repec:oup:qjecon:v:122:y:2007:i:2:p:831-877 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Fabian Herweg, 2010. "Uncertain Demand, Consumer Loss Aversion, and Flat-Rate Tariffs," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers bgse14_2010, University of Bonn, Germany.
  12. Laurent E. Calvet & John Y. Campbell & Paolo Sodini, 2008. "Fight or Flight? Portfolio Rebalancing by Individual Investors," NBER Working Papers 14177, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. David Bowman & Deborah Minehart & Matthew Rabin, 1994. "Loss aversion in a consumption/savings model," International Finance Discussion Papers 492, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. repec:oup:qjecon:v:121:y:2006:i:4:p:1133-1165 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Faruk Gul & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 2004. "Self-Control and the Theory of Consumption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 119-158, 01.
  16. Reis, Ricardo, 2006. "Inattentive consumers," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(8), pages 1761-1800, November.
  17. Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Dirk Krueger, 2002. "Consumption over the Life Cycle: Facts from Consumer Expenditure Survey Data," NBER Working Papers 9382, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Agar Brugiavini & Erich Battistin, & Enrico Rettore & Guglielmo Weber, 2007. "The Retirement Consumption Puzzle: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Approach," Working Papers 2007_27, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
  19. S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.
  20. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2005. "Consumption versus Expenditure," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 919-948, October.
  21. Matthew Rabin., 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Economics Working Papers E00-279, University of California at Berkeley.
  22. Banks, James & Blundell, Richard & Tanner, Sarah, 1998. "Is There a Retirement-Savings Puzzle?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 769-88, September.
  23. Rosato, Antonio, 2013. "Selling Substitute Goods to Loss-Averse Consumers: Limited Availability, Bargains and Rip-offs," MPRA Paper 47168, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  24. Herweg, Fabian & Müller, Daniel & Weinschenk, Philipp, 2010. "Binary payment schemes: Moral hazard and loss aversion," Munich Reprints in Economics 19450, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  25. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  26. repec:oup:qjecon:v:116:y:2001:i:1:p:1-53 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. Heidhues, Paul & Koszegi, Botond, 2014. "Regular prices and sales," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 9(1), January.
  28. Campbell, John Y & Deaton, Angus, 1989. "Why Is Consumption So Smooth?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(3), pages 357-73, July.
  29. B. Douglas Bernheim & Jonathan Skinner & Steven Weinberg, 1997. "What Accounts for the Variation in Retirement Wealth Among U.S. Households?," Working Papers 97035, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  30. George-Marios Angeletos, 2001. "The Hyberbolic Consumption Model: Calibration, Simulation, and Empirical Evaluation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 47-68, Summer.
  31. Angus Deaton, 1989. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," NBER Working Papers 3196, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Tullio Jappelli & Luigi Pistaferri, 2010. "The Consumption Response to Income Changes," NBER Working Papers 15739, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. Deaton, Angus, 1985. "Panel data from time series of cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 109-126.
  34. Shea, John, 1995. "Union Contracts and the Life-Cycle/Permanent-Income Hypothesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 186-200, March.
  35. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
  36. Schwerdt, Guido, 2005. "Why does consumption fall at retirement? Evidence from Germany," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 89(3), pages 300-305, December.
  37. Terrance Odean, 1998. "Are Investors Reluctant to Realize Their Losses?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(5), pages 1775-1798, October.
  38. Botond Kőszegi & Paul Heidhues, 2008. "Competition and Price Variation When Consumers Are Loss Averse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1245-68, September.
  39. repec:oup:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:2:p:443-77 is not listed on IDEAS
  40. repec:oup:qjecon:v:124:y:2009:i:1:p:301-348 is not listed on IDEAS
  41. Pagel, Michaela, 2012. "Expectations-Based Reference-Dependent Preferences and Asset Pricing," MPRA Paper 47933, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  42. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  43. Orazio P. Attanasio, 1998. "Cohort Analysis of Saving Behavior by U.S. Households," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(3), pages 575-609.
  44. Alessandro Bucciol, 2012. "Measuring Self-Control Problems: A Structural Estimation," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(5), pages 1084-1115, October.
  45. repec:oup:restud:v:56:y:1989:i:3:p:357-73 is not listed on IDEAS
  46. Richard Disney, 1996. "Can We Afford to Grow Older?," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026204157x, June.
  47. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Experimental Tests of the Endowment Effect and the Coase Theorem," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1325-48, December.
  48. Botond Koszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2009. "Reference-Dependent Consumption Plans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 909-36, June.
  49. Justin Sydnor, 2010. "(Over)insuring Modest Risks," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 177-99, October.
  50. Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumption and Its Implications for Monetary-Policy Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 367-390, June.
  51. repec:oup:qjecon:v:110:y:1995:i:1:p:73-92 is not listed on IDEAS
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:pra:mprapa:47138. 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: (Ekkehart Schlicht)

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.