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Keywords:Consumption 

Working Paper
The Effect of Interest-Rate Changes on Household Saving and Consumption: A Survey

Direct estimates of the interest elasticity of saving suffer from several serious problems. As an alternative, this survey uses an indirect approach that combines models of individual behavior with estimates of certain features of individuals' preferences. The paper examines the effect of interest-rate changes on the consumption and saving of people who follow the lifecycle model, who plan to leave bequests, who save to reach a fixed target, and who have short planning horizons. The models that likely describe the behavior of the people who account for most of aggregate saving imply positive ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 1996-27

Discussion Paper
What About Spending on Consumer Goods?

In a recent Liberty Street Economics post, I showed that one major category of consumer spending?spending on discretionary services such as recreation, transportation, and household utilities?behaved very differently in the 2007-09 recession and subsequent recovery than in previous business cycles: specifically, it fell more steeply and has recovered much more slowly. This finding prompted one of the editors of this blog to inquire whether consumer goods spending has also departed markedly from its behavior in past cycles. To answer that question, I examined the decline of expenditures on ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20180116

Report
Tracking the new economy: using growth theory to detect changes in trend productivity

The acceleration of productivity since 1995 has prompted a debate over whether the economy's underlying growth rate will remain high. In this paper, we propose a methodology for estimating trend growth that draws on growth theory to identify variables other than productivity namely consumption and labor compensation to help estimate trend productivity growth. We treat that trend as a common factor with two "regimes," high-growth and low-growth. Our analysis picks up striking evidence of a switch in the mid-1990s to a higher long-term growth regime, as well as a switch in the early 1970s in ...
Staff Reports , Paper 159

Working Paper
Mortgage Debt, Consumption, and Illiquid Housing Markets in the Great Recession

Using a model with housing search, endogenous credit constraints, and mortgage default, this paper accounts for the housing crash from 2006 to 2011 and its implications for aggregate and cross-sectional consumption during the Great Recession. Left tail shocks to labor market uncertainty and tighter down payment requirements emerge as the key drivers. An endogenous decline in housing liquidity amplifies the recession by increasing foreclosures, contracting credit, and depressing consumption. Balance sheets act as a transmission mechanism from housing to consumption that depends on gross ...
Working Papers , Paper 2017-30

Working Paper
Consumption in the Great Recession: The Financial Distress Channel

During the Great Recession, the collapse of consumption across the U.S. varied greatly but systematically with house-price declines. We find that financial distress among U.S. households amplified the sensitivity of consumption to house-price shocks. We uncover two essential facts: (1) the decline in house prices led to an increase in household financial distress prior to the decline in income during the recession, and (2) at the zip-code level, the prevalence of financial distress prior to the recession was positively correlated with house-price declines at the onset of the recession. Using ...
Working Papers , Paper 2019-25

Working Paper
Endogenous Borrowing Constraints and Stagnation in Latin America

The Latin American debt crisis of the 1980's had a major and long lasting effect on per-capita consumption: its level in 2005 was not that different from that in 1980. This paper studies the long stagnation in per-capita consumption that followed the crisis, and its relationship with recessions and sovereign risk, using a small open economy real business cycle model with complete markets, endogenous borrowing limits (limited commitment), endogenous capital accumulation, and domestic productivity and international interest rate shocks. I find that the model does an excellent job at explaining ...
Working Papers , Paper 2014-37

Working Paper
Robust permanent income in general equilibrium

This paper provides a tractable continuous-time constant-absolute-risk averse (CARA)-Gaussian framework to quantitatively explore how the preference for robustness (RB) affects the interest rate, the dynamics of consumption and income, and the welfare costs of model uncertainty in general equilibrium. We show that RB significantly reduces the equilibrium interest rate, and reduces the relative volatility of consumption growth to income growth when the income process is stationary. Furthermore, we find that the welfare costs of model uncertainty are nontrivial for plausibly estimated income ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 15-14

Working Paper
Consumption in the Great Recession: The Financial Distress Channel

During the Great Recession, the collapse of consumption across the U.S. varied greatly but systematically with house-price declines. We find that financial distress among U.S. households amplified the sensitivity of consumption to house-price shocks. We uncover two essential facts: (1) the decline in house prices led to an increase in household financial distress prior to the decline in income during the recession, and (2) at the zip-code level, the prevalence of financial distress prior to the recession was positively correlated with house-price declines at the onset of the recession. Using ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 19-6

Working Paper
Homeowner Balance Sheets and Monetary Policy

This paper empirically identifies an important channel through which monetary policy affects consumer spending: homeowner balance sheets. A monetary loosening increases home values, thereby strengthening homeowner balance sheets and stimulating household spending due to a combination of collateral and wealth effects. The magnitude of these effects on a given household depends on local housing market characteristics such as local geography and regulation. Cities with the largest geographic and regulatory barriers to new construction see 3-4 percent responses in real house prices compared with ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2014-98

Working Paper
Do Rising Top Incomes Lead to Increased Borrowing in the Rest of the Distribution?

One potential consequence of rising concentration of income at the top of the distribution is increased borrowing, as less affluent households attempt to maintain standards of living with less income. This paper explores the ?keeping up with the Joneses? phenomenon using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances. Specifically, it examines the responsiveness of payment-to-income ratios for different debt types at different parts of the income distribution to changes in the income thresholds at the 95th and 99th percentiles. The analysis provides some evidence indicating that household debt ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2016-046

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