Working Paper

Consumption Heterogeneity: Micro Drivers and Macro Implications


Abstract: This paper explores the microfoundations of consumption models and quantifies the macro implications of consumption heterogeneity. We propose a new empirical method to estimate the response of consumption to permanent and transitory income shocks for different groups of households. We then apply this method to administrative data from Denmark. The large sample size, along with detailed household balance sheet information, allows us to finely divide the population along relevant dimensions. We find that households that stand to lose from an interest rate hike are significantly more responsive to income shocks than those that stand to gain. Following a 1-percentage-point interest rate increase, we estimate that consumption growth decreases by a 1/4 percentage point through this interest rate exposure channel alone, making this channel substantially larger than the intertemporal substitution channel that is at the core of representative agent New Keynesian models.

Keywords: MPC; Consumption dynamics; Uncertainty;

JEL Classification: D12; D31; D91; E21;

https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2020.005

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.)

Part of Series: Finance and Economics Discussion Series

Publication Date: 2020-01-16

Number: 2020-005

Pages: 67 p.