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Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US)
Finance and Economics Discussion Series
A note on the cointegration of consumption, income, and wealth
Jeremy B. Rudd
Karl Whelan
Abstract

Lettau and Ludvigson (2001) argue that a log-linearized approximation to an aggregate budget constraint predicts that log consumption, assets, and labor income will be cointegrated. They conclude that this cointegrating relationship is present in U.S. data, and that the estimated cointegrating residual forecasts future asset growth. This note examines whether the cointegrating relationship suggested by Lettau and Ludvigson's theoretical framework actually exists. We demonstrate that we cannot reject the hypothesis that cointegration is absent from the data once we employ measures of consumption, assets, and labor income that are jointly consistent with an underlying budget constraint. By contrast, Lettau and Ludvigson use a set of variables that do not belong together in an aggregate budget constraint, thereby testing a cointegrating relationship that is not implied by their theory.


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Jeremy B. Rudd & Karl Whelan, A note on the cointegration of consumption, income, and wealth, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US), Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2002-53, 2002.
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Keywords: Consumption (Economics) ; Income ; Wealth
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