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Habits, Sentiment and Predictable Income in the Dynamics of Aggregate Consumption

  • Martin Sommer

    (International Monetary Fund)

This paper explores whether habit formation in the representative agent’s preferences can explain two failures of the standard permanent income model: the sensitivity to lagged consumer sentiment, and to predictable changes in income. I show that in a habit formation model, the sensitivity of consumption to predicted income can be largely reinterpreted as a sluggish response to news. Moreover, the sensitivity of consumption to sentiment reflects the serial correlation in consumption growth generated by habits. The estimated model predicts an immediate (first-quarter) MPC out of a permanent tax cut of only about 30%.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 0408004.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 09 Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0408004
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 28
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  1. Carroll, Christopher D & Fuhrer, Jeffrey C & Wilcox, David W, 1994. "Does Consumer Sentiment Forecast Household Spending? If So, Why?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1397-1408, December.
  2. G. Constantinides, 1990. "Habit formation: a resolution of the equity premium puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1397, David K. Levine.
  3. Matthew D. Shapiro & Joel Slemrod, 2003. "Consumer Response to Tax Rebates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 381-396, March.
  4. Martin Sommer & Christopher Carroll, 2004. "Epidemiological expectations and consumption dynamics," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2003 92, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
  5. Pischke, J.S., 1993. "Individual Income, Incomplete Information, and Aggregate Consumption," Working papers 93-16, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Andrew B. Abel, . "Asset Prices Under Habit Formation and Catching Up With the Jones," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 1-90, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  7. Jody Overland & Christopher D. Carroll & David N. Weil, 2000. "Saving and Growth with Habit Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 341-355, June.
  8. Muellbauer, John, 1986. "Habits, Rationality and Myopia in the Life-Cycle Consumption Function," CEPR Discussion Papers 112, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Christopher D. Carroll, 2000. "'Risky Habits' and the Marginal Propensity to Consume Out of Permanent Income, or, How Much Would a Permanent Tax Cut Boost Japanese Consumption?," NBER Working Papers 7839, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Christopher D Carroll, 1990. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," Economics Working Paper Archive 371, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics, revised Aug 1996.
  11. Jermann, Urban J., 1998. "Asset pricing in production economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 257-275, April.
  12. Sydney C. Ludvigson & Alexander Michaelides, 2001. "Does Buffer-Stock Saving Explain the Smoothness and Excess Sensitivity of Consumption?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 631-647, June.
  13. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & David Marshall, 1987. "The Permanent Income Hypothesis Revisited," NBER Working Papers 2209, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Marianne Baxter & Urban J. Jermann, 1999. "Household Production and the Excess Sensitivity of Consumption to Current Income," NBER Working Papers 7046, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-87, December.
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