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Christopher D. Carroll

19 March 2008
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 886
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Abstract
We estimate the degree of 'stickiness' in aggregate consumption growth (sometimes interpreted as reflecting consumption habits) for thirteen advanced economies. We find that, after controlling for measurement error, consumption growth has a high degree of auto-correlation, with a stickiness parameter of about 0.7 on average across countries. The sticky-consumption-growth model outperforms the random walk model of Hall (1978), and typically fits the data better than the popular Campbell and Mankiw (1989) model. In several countries, the sticky-consumption-growth and Campbell-Mankiw models work about equally well.
JEL Code
C6 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Mathematical Methods, Programming Models, Mathematical and Simulation Modeling
D9 : Microeconomics→Intertemporal Choice
E2 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy
23 December 2010
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1283
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Abstract
This paper presents a simple new method for measuring `wealth effects' on aggregate consumption. The method exploits the stickiness of consumption growth (sometimes interpreted as reflecting consumption `habits') to distinguish between immediate and eventual wealth effects. In U.S. data, we estimate that the immediate (next-quarter) marginal propensity to consume from a change in housing wealth is about 2 cents, with a final eventual effect around 9 cents, substantially larger than the effect of shocks to financial wealth. We argue that our method is preferable to cointegration-based approaches, because neither theory nor evidence supports faith in the existence of a stable cointegrating vector.
JEL Code
E21 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Consumption, Saving, Wealth
E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles
C22 : Mathematical and Quantitative Methods→Single Equation Models, Single Variables→Time-Series Models, Dynamic Quantile Regressions, Dynamic Treatment Effect Models &bull Diffusion Processes
5 February 2014
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1633
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Abstract
A large body of microeconomic evidence supports Friedman (1957)'s proposition that household income can be reasonably well described as having both transitory and permanent components. We show how to modify the widely-used macroeconomic model of Krusell and Smith (1998) to accommodate such a microeconomic income process. Our incorporation of substantial permanent income shocks helps our model to explain a substantial part of the large degree of empirical wealth heterogeneity that is unexplained in the baseline Krusell and Smith (1998) model, even without heterogeneity in preferences.
JEL Code
D12 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
D31 : Microeconomics→Distribution→Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
D91 : Microeconomics→Intertemporal Choice→Intertemporal Household Choice, Life Cycle Models and Saving
E21 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Consumption, Saving, Wealth
10 March 2014
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1648
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Abstract
Using new micro data on household wealth from fifteen European countries, the Household Finance and Consumption Survey, we first document the substantial cross-country variation in how various measures of wealth are distributed across individual households. Through the lens of a standard, realistically calibrated model of buffer-stock saving with transitory and permanent income shocks we then study how cross-country differences in the wealth distribution and household income dynamics affect the marginal propensity to consume out of transitory shocks (MPC). We find that the aggregate consumption response ranges between 0.1 and 0.4 and is stronger (i) in economies with large wealth inequality, where a larger proportion of households has little wealth, (ii) under larger transitory income shocks and (iii) when we consider households only using liquid assets (rather than net wealth) to smooth consumption.
JEL Code
D12 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
D31 : Microeconomics→Distribution→Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
D91 : Microeconomics→Intertemporal Choice→Intertemporal Household Choice, Life Cycle Models and Saving
E21 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Consumption, Saving, Wealth
Network
Household Finance and Consumption Network (HFCN)
14 March 2014
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 1655
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Abstract
We present a macroeconomic model calibrated to match both microeconomic and macroeconomic evidence on household income dynamics. When the model is modified in a way that permits it to match empirical measures of wealth inequality in the U.S., we show that its predictions (unlike those of competing models) are consistent with the substantial body of microeconomic evidence which suggests that the annual marginal propensity to consume (MPC) is much larger than the 0.02_0.04 range implied by commonly-used macroeconomic models. Our model also (plausibly) predicts that the aggregate MPC can differ greatly depending on how the shock is distributed across categories of households (e.g., low-wealth versus high-wealth households).
JEL Code
D12 : Microeconomics→Household Behavior and Family Economics→Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
D31 : Microeconomics→Distribution→Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
D91 : Microeconomics→Intertemporal Choice→Intertemporal Household Choice, Life Cycle Models and Saving
E21 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Consumption, Saving, Wealth
Network
Household Finance and Consumption Network (HFCN)
25 May 2018
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2152
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Abstract
Macroeconomic models often invoke consumption "habits" to explain the substantial persistence of macroeconomic consumption growth. to explain the substantial But a large literature has found no evidence of habits in the micro-economic datasets that measure the behavior of individual households. We show that the apparent conflict can be explained by a model in which consumers have accurate knowledge of their personal circumstances but `sticky expectations' about the macro-economy. In our model, the persistence of aggregate consumption growth reflects consumers' imperfect attention to aggregate shocks. Our proposed degree of (macro) inattention has negligible utility costs, because aggregate shocks constitute only a tiny proportion of the uncertainty that consumers face.
JEL Code
D83 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Search, Learning, Information and Knowledge, Communication, Belief
D84 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Expectations, Speculations
E21 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Consumption, Saving, Wealth
E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles
8 July 2020
WORKING PAPER SERIES - No. 2441
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Abstract
To predict the effects of the 2020 U.S. ‘CARES’ act on consumption, we extend a model that matches responses of households to past consumption stimulus packages. The extension allows us to account for two novel features of the coronavirus crisis. First, during the lockdown, many types of spending are undesirable or impossible. Second, some of the jobs that disappear during the lockdown will not reappear when it is lifted. We estimate that, if the lockdown is short-lived, the combination of expanded unemployment insurance benefits and stimulus payments should be sufficient to allow a swift recovery in consumer spending to its pre-crisis levels. If the lockdown lasts longer, an extension of enhanced unemployment benefits will likely be necessary if consumption spending is to recover.
JEL Code
D83 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Search, Learning, Information and Knowledge, Communication, Belief
D84 : Microeconomics→Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty→Expectations, Speculations
E21 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy→Consumption, Saving, Wealth
E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles
13 October 2020
RESEARCH BULLETIN - No. 75
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Abstract
The 2020 US CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) aimed to bolster consumer spending. We model the spending and saving behaviour of households during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, differentiating between the employed, temporarily unemployed and persistently unemployed, and examine how the CARES Act should affect this behaviour. To do this we use a benchmark model which realistically captures the differences in income, wealth and spending between households, and which matches the responses to previous stimulus policies well. We extend the model to account for the fact that, during a lockdown, many types of spending are undesirable or impossible, and that some of the jobs that disappear during lockdown will not reappear when it is lifted. We estimate that, in the case of a short-lived lockdown (which was the median point of view in April 2020), the CARES Act should be sufficient to allow a swift recovery in consumer spending to its pre-crisis levels. For a longer-lasting lockdown (if there is a “second wave” of the virus), an extension of enhanced unemployment benefits is likely to be necessary for consumption spending to recover quickly. We have made the modelling software available for other researchers, so that they can examine the consequences of alternative assumptions about the length of the lockdown, distribution of the stimulus payments, and other modelling choices.
JEL Code
E31 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Price Level, Inflation, Deflation
E32 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Business Fluctuations, Cycles
E37 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles→Forecasting and Simulation: Models and Applications
E52 : Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics→Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit→Monetary Policy