IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/pra/mprapa/98569.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Marginalization of Absolute and Relative Income Hypotheses of Consumption and the Role of Fiscal Policy

Author

Listed:
  • Drakopoulos, Stavros A.

Abstract

In Keynes’ consumption theory absolute income is the major determinant of consumption, and the marginal propensity to consume determines the magnitudes of fiscal multipliers. Keynes employed a largely psychological analysis of consumption, rejecting the model of utility maximizing consumer. J. Duesenberry extended and improved Keynes’ approach by also emphasizing the role of psychological and social factors on consumption decisions (the relative income hypothesis). Similar conclusions regarding the role of income on consumption, and therefore support for Keynesian policies, are reached by Duesenberry’s analysis. The life-cycle hypothesis by Modigliani and Brumberg (1954), and the permanent income hypothesis by Friedman (1957), emerged as the two main alternatives to Keynes’ and Duesenberry’s approaches. Modern orthodox consumption theories are extensions of these two theories in a rational expectations framework. By employing the concept of forward looking, optimizing agents, current or relative income plays a minimal role in the life-cycle and permanent income hypotheses, and an even lesser role in contemporary orthodox consumption theories. Consequently, fiscal policy has a negligible effect on output and employment. The paper argues that Keynes and Duesenberry’s approaches were marginalized not because of their empirical or theoretical shortcomings, but because of emphasizing the psychological and social influences on consumption patterns, and because of not employing the intertemporal utility maximizing framework. The clear implication of the discussion is that the marginalization of absolute and relative income hypotheses was due to the dominance of a specific methodological framework that did not favour such approaches.

Suggested Citation

  • Drakopoulos, Stavros A., 2020. "The Marginalization of Absolute and Relative Income Hypotheses of Consumption and the Role of Fiscal Policy," MPRA Paper 98569, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:98569
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/98569/1/MPRA_paper_98569.pdf
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Consumption Function; Keynes; Duesenberry; Economic Methodology;

    JEL classification:

    • B20 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - General
    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:pra:mprapa:98569. 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: (Joachim Winter). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/vfmunde.html .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.