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Does habit formation always increase the agents' desire to smooth consumption?

Author

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  • Emmanuelle Augeraud-Veron
  • Mauro Bambi

Abstract

In the literature, habit formation has been often introduced to enhance the agents' desire to smooth consumption over time. This characteristic was found particularly useful in solving the equity premium puzzle and in matching several stylized facts in growth, and business cycles theory as, for example, the high persistence in the U.S. output volatility. In this paper we propose a definition of habit formation, which is ``general'' relative to the assumptions on the intensity, persistence, and lag structure, and we unveil two mechanisms which point to the opposite direction: habits may reduce the desire of smoothing consumption over time and then may potentially decrease the power of a model in explaining the previously mentioned facts. More precisely, we propose a complete taxonomy of the rich dynamics which may emerge in an AK model with external addictive habits for all the feasible combinations of the intensity, persistence and lag structure characterizing their formation and we point out to the region in the parameters' space coherent with less smoothing in consumption. An economic explanation of these mechanisms is suggested and the robustness of our results in the case of internal habits verified. Finally and crucially habit formation always reduces the desire of consumption smoothing once the model is calibrated to match the average U.S. output and utility growth rates observed in the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Emmanuelle Augeraud-Veron & Mauro Bambi, 2012. "Does habit formation always increase the agents' desire to smooth consumption?," Discussion Papers 12/12, Department of Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:12/12
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jaime Alonso-Carrera & Jordi Caballé & Xavier Raurich, 2007. "Aspirations, Habit Formation, and Bequest Motive," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(520), pages 813-836, April.
    2. Alonso-Carrera, Jaime & Caballe, Jordi & Raurich, Xavier, 2005. "Growth, habit formation, and catching-up with the Joneses," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(6), pages 1665-1691, August.
    3. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
    4. Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado & Goncalo Monteiro & Stephen J. Turnovsky, 2004. "Habit Formation, Catching Up with the Joneses, and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 47-80, March.
    5. Cooper, Ben & Garcia-Penalosa, Cecilia & Funk, Peter, 2001. "Status Effects and Negative Utility Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 642-665, July.
    6. Boucekkine, Raouf & Licandro, Omar & Puch, Luis A. & del Rio, Fernando, 2005. "Vintage capital and the dynamics of the AK model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 120(1), pages 39-72, January.
    7. M. Bambi & G. Fabbri & F. Gozzi, 2012. "Optimal policy and consumption smoothing effects in the time-to-build AK model," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 50(3), pages 635-669, August.
    8. John Y. Campbell & John H. Cochrane, 1994. "By Force of Habit: A Consumption-Based Explanation of Aggregate Stock Market Behavior," CRSP working papers 412, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
    9. Lawrence J. Christiano & Michele Boldrin & Jonas D. M. Fisher, 2001. "Habit Persistence, Asset Returns, and the Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 149-166, March.
    10. Kareen Rozen, 2010. "Foundations of Intrinsic Habit Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1341-1373, July.
    11. Hippolyte d'Albis & Emmanuelle Augeraud-Véron & Hermen Jan Hupkes, 2012. "Discontinuous Initial Value Problems for Functional Differential-Algebraic Equations of Mixed Type," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 12043, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    12. Benhabib, Jess, 1978. "A note on optimal growth and intertemporally dependent preferences," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 1(4), pages 321-324.
    13. Alonso-Carrera, Jaime & Caballé, Jordi & Raurich, Xavier, 2008. "Estate taxes, consumption externalities, and altruism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1751-1764, July.
    14. Morten Ravn & Stephanie Schmitt-Grohé & Martín Uribe, 2006. "Deep Habits," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 195-218.
    15. Fabbri, Giorgio & Gozzi, Fausto, 2008. "Solving optimal growth models with vintage capital: The dynamic programming approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 143(1), pages 331-373, November.
    16. Carroll, Christopher D., 2000. "Solving consumption models with multiplicative habits," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 67-77, July.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Does habit formation always increase the agents’ desire to smooth consumption?
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2012-04-23 04:42:02
    2. Beyond models
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2012-07-26 18:23:50
    3. Does habit formation always increase the agents’ desire to smooth consumption?
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2012-04-23 04:42:02

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Habit formation; endogenous fluctuations; delayed functional differential equations.;

    JEL classification:

    • E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - General
    • E30 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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