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Expectations-Based Reference-Dependent Life-Cycle Consumption

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  • Pagel, Michaela

Abstract

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.

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  • Pagel, Michaela, 2013. "Expectations-Based Reference-Dependent Life-Cycle Consumption," MPRA Paper 47138, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:47138
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    Cited by:

    1. Alex Imas, 2016. "The Realization Effect: Risk-Taking after Realized versus Paper Losses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(8), pages 2086-2109, August.
    2. Arna Vardardottir & Michaela Pagel, 2016. "The Liquid Hand-to-Mouth: Evidence from a Personal Finance Management Software," 2016 Meeting Papers 789, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Nicholas C. Barberis, 2012. "Thirty Years of Prospect Theory in Economics: A Review and Assessment," NBER Working Papers 18621, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Li, Wenchao & Song, Changcheng & Xu, Shu & Yi, Junjian, 2017. "Household Portfolio Choice, Reference Dependence, and the Marriage Market," IZA Discussion Papers 10528, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Gabaix, Xavier, 2015. "Behavioral Macroeconomics Via Sparse Dynamic Programming," CEPR Discussion Papers 11026, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Driscoll, John C. & Holden, Steinar, 2014. "Behavioral economics and macroeconomic models," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 133-147.
    7. Park Hyeon, 2016. "Loss Aversion and Consumption Plans with Stochastic Reference Points," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 16(1), pages 303-336, January.
    8. Reto Foellmi & Adrian Jaeggi & Rina Rosenblatt-Wisch, 2018. "Loss Aversion at the Aggregate Level Across Countries and its Relation to Economic Fundamentals," Working Papers 2018-01, Swiss National Bank.
    9. Nicholas C. Barberis, 2013. "Thirty Years of Prospect Theory in Economics: A Review and Assessment," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(1), pages 173-196, Winter.
    10. In Do Hwang, 2017. "Behavioral Aspects of Household Portfolio Choice: Effects of Loss Aversion on Life Insurance Uptake and Savings," Working Papers 2017-8, Economic Research Institute, Bank of Korea.
    11. Falk, Armin & Zimmermann, Florian, 2016. "Beliefs and Utility: Experimental Evidence on Preferences for Information," IZA Discussion Papers 10172, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. repec:oup:jeurec:v:15:y:2017:i:3:p:626-653. is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Markus Dertwinkel-Kalt & Katrin Köhler & Mirjam R. J. Lange & Tobias Wenzel, 2017. "Demand Shifts Due to Salience Effects: Experimental Evidence," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 626-653.
    14. von Wangenheim, Jonas, 2017. "English versus Vickrey Auctions with Loss Averse Bidders," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 48, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Expectations-based reference-dependent preferences; life-cycle consumption; excess smoothness; excess sensitivity;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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