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Jel Classification:D15 

Working Paper
Are Millennials Different?

The economic wellbeing of the millennial generation, which entered its working-age years around the time of the 2007-09 recession, has received considerable attention from economists and the popular press. This chapter compares the socioeconomic and demographic characteristics of millennials with those of earlier generations and compares their income, saving, and consumption expenditures. Relative to members of earlier generations, millennials are more racially diverse, more educated, and more likely to have deferred marriage; these comparisons are continuations of longer-run trends in the ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2018-080

Working Paper
A Day Late and a Dollar Short : Liquidity and Household Formation among Student Borrowers

The federal government encourages human capital investment through lending and grant programs, but resources from these programs may also finance non-education activities for students whose liquidity is otherwise restricted. This paper explores this possibility, using administrative data for the universe of federal student loan borrowers linked to tax records. We examine the effects of a sharp discontinuity in program limits?generated by the timing of a student borrower?s 24th birthday?on household formation early in the lifecycle. After demonstrating that this discontinuity induces a jump in ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2018-025

Working Paper
Did the 2017 Tax Reform Discriminate against Blue State Voters?

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) made significant changes to corporate and personal federal income taxation, including limiting the SALT (state and local property, income and sales taxes) deductibility to $10,000. States with high SALT tend to vote Democratic. This paper estimates the differential effect of the TCJA on red- and blue-state taxpayers and investigates the importance of the SALT limitation to this differential. We calculate the effect of permanent implementation of the TCJA on households using The Fiscal Analyzer: a life-cycle, consumption-smoothing program incorporating ...
FRB Atlanta Working Paper , Paper 2019-7

Working Paper
Scarred Consumption

We show that prior lifetime experiences can "scar" consumers. Consumers who have lived through times of high unemployment exhibit persistent pessimism about their future financial situation and spend significantly less, controlling for the standard life-cycle consumption factors, even though their actual future income is uncorrelated with past experiences. Due to their experience-induced frugality, scarred consumers build up more wealth. We use a stochastic lifecycle model to show that the negative relationship between past experiences and consumption cannot be generated by financial ...
International Finance Discussion Papers , Paper 1259

Housing Wealth Effects: The Long View

We provide new time-varying estimates of the housing wealth effect back to the 1980s. We use three identification strategies: OLS with a rich set of controls, the Saiz housing supply elasticity instrument, and a new instrument that exploits systematic differences in city-level exposure to regional house price cycles. All three identification strategies indicate that housing wealth elasticities were if anything slightly smaller in the 2000s than in earlier time periods. This implies that the important role housing played in the boom and bust of the 2000s was due to larger price movements ...
Staff Report , Paper 593

Working Paper
Estimating the marginal propensity to consume using the distributions of income, consumption and wealth

Recent studies of economic inequality almost always separately examine income, consumption, and wealth inequality and, hence, miss the important synergy among the three measures explicit in the life-cycle budget constraint. Using Panel Study of Income Dynamics data from 1999 through 2013, we examine whether these changes are more dramatic at higher or lower levels of wealth and find that the marginal propensity to consume is lower at higher wealth quintiles. This suggests that low-wealth households cannot smooth consumption as much as other households do, which further implies that increasing ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-4

Working Paper
Credit card utilization and consumption over the life cycle and business cycle

The revolving credit available to consumers changes substantially over the business cycle, life cycle, and for individuals. We show that debt changes at the same time as credit, so credit utilization is remarkably stable. From ages 20?40, for example, credit card limits grow by more than 700 percent, and yet utilization holds steadily at around 50 percent. We estimate a structural model of life-cycle consumption and credit use in which credit cards can be used for payments, precautionary smoothing, and life-cycle smoothing, uniting their monetary and revolving credit functions. Our estimates ...
Working Papers , Paper 17-14

Working Paper
How does liquidity affect consumer payment choice?

We measure consumers? readiness to face emergency expenses. Based on data from a representative survey of US consumers, we find that financial readiness varies widely across consumers, with lowest-income, least-educated, unemployed, and black consumers most likely to have $0 saved for emergency expenses. For these consumers, even a temporary financial shock, either an unexpected negative income shock (such as a layoff or a short-term government shutdown) or an unexpected expenditure (such as a medical expense or a car repair), could have severe financial consequences. The literature likely ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-7

Working Paper
Does getting a mortgage affect credit card use?

Buying a house changes a household?s balance sheet by simultaneously reducing liquidity and introducing mortgage payments, which may leave the household more exposed to other shocks. We find that this change affects credit card use in two ways: A debt effect increases credit card spending, while a credit effect leads to higher credit limits. In the short run, a new mortgage acquisition has a robust and statistically significant positive effect on credit card utilization ? the fraction of a consumer?s credit card limit that is used ? of approximately 11 percentage points. Before the 2008 ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-8

Subjective Intertemporal Substitution

We estimate the elasticity of intertemporal substitution (EIS)—the response of expected consumption growth to changes in the real interest rate—using subjective expectations data from the New York Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE). This unique data set allows us to estimate the consumption Euler equation with no auxiliary assumptions on the properties of expectations, which are instead necessary when using choice data. We find a subjective EIS of about 0.5, consistent with the results of much of the literature. In addition, planned consumption displays excess sensitivity to ...
Staff Reports , Paper 734


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