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On the Concavity of the Consumption Function

  • Christopher D. Carroll

    (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System)

  • Miles S. Kimball

    (The University of Michigan)

Zeldes (1989) Carroll (1992; 1993), and others have shown that optimal consumption behavior for consumers facing income uncertainty can be remarkably different from the certainty-equivalent case. Carroll (1992; 1993) observes that many of the differences can be attributed to the concavity of the consumption function under uncertainty, but he does not describe the conditions under which the consumption function will be concave. We show that if labor income is stochastic, the consumption function will be concave for many commonly used utility functions, and if both labor income and capital income are stochastic, the consumption function is concave for an even broader group of utility functions.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 9503003.

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Length: 13 pages
Date of creation: 10 Mar 1995
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:9503003
Note: 13 pages, one figure, PostScript file. Need uudecode and a PostScript printer to print.
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  1. Stephen Zeldes, . "Optimal Consumption with Stochastic Income: Deviations from Certainty Equivalence," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 20-86, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  2. Carroll, Christopher D, 1997. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 1-55, February.
  3. Neave, Edwin H., 1971. "Multiperiod consumption-investment decisions and risk preference," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 40-53, March.
  4. Miles S. Kimball, 1990. "Precautionary Saving and the Marginal Propensity to Consume," NBER Working Papers 3403, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "The Buffer-Stock Theory of Saving: Some Macroeconomic Evidence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 61-156.
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  1. Recursive Macroeconomic Theory

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