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Measuring consumption smoothing in CEX data

  • Gervais, Martin
  • Klein, Paul

This paper proposes and implements a new method of measuring the degree of consumption smoothing using data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey. The structure of this Survey is such that estimators previously used in the literature are inconsistent, simply because income is measured annually and consumption is measured quarterly. We impose an AR(1) structure on the income process to obtain a proxy for quarterly income through a projection on annual income. By construction, this proxy gives rise to a measurement error which is orthogonal to the proxy itself - as opposed to the unobserved regressor - leading to a consistent estimator. We contrast our estimates with the output of two estimators used in the literature. We show that while the first (OLS) estimator tends to overstate the degree of risk sharing, the second (IV) estimator grossly understates it Keywords; risk sharing, consumption smoothing, income risk, projection

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Paper provided by Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton in its series Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics with number 0906.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:stn:sotoec:0906
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  1. Orazio Attanasio & Steven J. Davis, 1994. "Relative Wage Movements and the Distribution of Consumption," NBER Working Papers 4771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Orazio Attanasio & Erich Battistin & Hidehiko Ichimura, 2004. "What Really Happened to Consumption Inequality in the US?," NBER Working Papers 10338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Tobias Broer, 2009. "Stationary equilibrium distributions in economies with limited commitment," Economics Working Papers ECO2009/39, European University Institute.
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  8. Javier Díaz-Giménez & Vincenzo Quadrini & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 1997. "Dimensions of inequality: facts on the U.S. distributions of earnings, income, and wealth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 3-21.
  9. Erich Battistin, 2003. "Errors in survey reports of consumption expenditures," IFS Working Papers W03/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  10. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris I. Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2000. "Consumption and Risk Sharing Over the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 7995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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.
  12. Fatih Guvenen, 2005. "Do Stockholders Share Risk More Effectively Than Non- stockholders?," Macroeconomics 0508006, EconWPA.
  13. Kjetil Storesletten & Chris I. Telmer & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Cyclical Dynamics in Idiosyncratic Labor Market Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 695-717, June.
  14. Nelson, J.A., 1993. "On Testing for Full Insurance Using Consumer Expenditures Survey Data," Papers 93-02, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
  15. Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley, 2009. "Shocks, Stocks, and Socks: Smoothing Consumption Over a Temporary Income Loss," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(6), pages 1169-1192, December.
  16. David M. Cutler & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "Macroeconomic Performance and the Disadvantaged," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 1-74.
  17. Nelson, Julie A, 1994. "On Testing for Full Insurance Using Consumer Expenditure Survey Data: Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(2), pages 384-94, April.
  18. Richard Blundell & Luigi Pistaferri & Ian Preston, 2004. "Imputing consumption in the PSID using food demand estimates from the CEX," IFS Working Papers W04/27, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  19. Dirk Krueger & Fabrizio Perri, 2006. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Consumption Inequality? Evidence and Theory -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 163-193.
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  21. Pagan, Adrian, 1984. "Econometric Issues in the Analysis of Regressions with Generated Regressors," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(1), pages 221-47, February.
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  23. Goldberger, Arthur S, 1972. "Maximum-Likelihood Estimation of Regressions Containing Unobservable Independent Variables," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(1), pages 1-15, February.
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