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Creator: Christiano, Lawrence J., Eichenbaum, Martin S., and Marshall, David A. Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 335 Abstract:
This paper investigates whether there are simple versions of the permanent income hypothesis which are consistent with the aggregate U.S. consumption and output data. Our analysis is conducted within the confines of a simple dynamic general equilibrium model of aggregate real output, investment, hours of work and consumption. We study the quantitative importance of two perturbations to the version of our model which predicts that observed consumption follows a random walk: (i) changing the production technology specification which rationalizes the random walk result, and (ii) replacing the assumption that agents' decision intervals coincide with the data sampling interval with the assumption that agents make decisions on a continuous time basis. We find substantially less evidence against the continuous time models than against their discrete time counterparts. In fact neither of the two continuous time models can be rejected at conventional significance levels. The continuous time models outperform their discrete time counterparts primarily because they explicitly account for the fact that the data used to test the models are time averaged measures of the underlying unobserved point-in-time variables. The net result is that they are better able to accommodate the degree of serial correlation present in the first difference of observed per capita U.S. consumption.
Palabra clave: Consumption and Income Tema: E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth and C52 - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
Creator: Boerma, Job and Karabarbounis, Loukas Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 746 Abstract:
We revisit the causes, welfare consequences, and policy implications of the dispersion in households' labor market outcomes using a model with uninsurable risk, incomplete asset markets, and home production. Accounting for home production amplifies welfare-based differences across households meaning that inequality is larger than we thought. Home production does not offset differences that originate in the market sector because productivity differences in the home sector are significant and the time input in home production does not covary with consumption expenditures and wages in the cross section of households. The optimal tax system should feature more progressivity taking into account home production.
Palabra clave: Inequality, Labor supply, Home production, and Consumption Tema: D10 - Household Behavior: General, J22 - Time Allocation and Labor Supply, E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, and D60 - Welfare Economics: General
Creator: Glover, Andrew, Heathcote, Jonathan, Krueger, Dirk, and Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 684 Abstract:
In this paper we construct a stochastic overlapping-generations general equilibrium model in which households are subject to aggregate shocks that affect both wages and asset prices. We use a calibrated version of the model to quantify how the welfare costs of severe recessions are distributed across different household age groups. The model predicts that younger cohorts fare better than older cohorts when the equilibrium decline in asset prices is large relative to the decline in wages, as observed in the data. Asset price declines hurt the old, who rely on asset sales to finance consumption, but benefit the young, who purchase assets at depressed prices. In our preferred calibration, asset prices decline more than twice as much as wages, consistent with the experience of the US economy in the Great Recession. A model recession is approximately welfare-neutral for households in the 20–29 age group, but translates into a large welfare loss of around 10% of lifetime consumption for households aged 70 and over.
Palabra clave: Aggregate risk, Recessions, Overlapping generations, and Asset prices Tema: D91 - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics: Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making, D31 - Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions, D58 - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models, and E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth
Creator: Yang, Fang Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 638 Abstract:
This paper studies a quantitative dynamic general equilibrium life-cycle model where parents and their children are linked by bequests, both voluntary and accidental, and by the transmission of earnings ability. This model is able to match very well the empirical observation that households with similar lifetime incomes hold very different amounts of wealth at retirement. Income heterogeneity and borrowing constraints are essential in generating the variation in retirement wealth among low lifetime income households, while the existence of intergenerational links is crucial in explaining the heterogeneity in retirement wealth among high lifetime income households.
Tema: E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth
Creator: Yang, Fang Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 635 Abstract:
Micro data over the life cycle shows two different patterns of consumption of housing and non-housing goods: the consumption profile of non-housing goods is hump-shaped while the consumption profile for housing first increases monotonically and then flattens out. These patterns hold true at each consumption quartile. This paper develops a quantitative, dynamic general equilibrium model of life cycle behavior, which generates consumption profiles consistent with the observed data. Borrowing constraints are essential in explaining the accumulation of housing assets early in life, while transaction costs are crucial in generating the slow downsizing of the housing assets later in life. The bequest motives play a role in determining total life time wealth, but not the housing profile.
Palabra clave: Life cycle, Consumption, Housing, and Distribution Tema: J14 - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-labor Market Discrimination, R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics: Housing Demand, and E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth
Creator: Cagetti, Marco and De Nardi, Mariacristina Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 632 Abstract:
Entrepreneurship is a key determinant of investment, saving, wealth holdings, and wealth inequality. We study the aggregate and the distributional effects of several tax reforms in a model that recognizes the key role played by the entrepreneurs, and that matches very well the extreme degree of wealth inequality observed in the U.S. data. We find that the effects of tax reforms on output and capital formation can be particularly large when they affect the majority of small and medium-size businesses, which face the most severe financial constraints, rather than a small number of big businesses. We show that the consequences of changes in the estate tax depend heavily on the size of its exemption level. The current effective estate tax system seems to insulate most of the businesses from the negative effects of estate taxation thus minimizing the aggregate costs of redistribution. Abolishing the current estate tax would generate a modest increase in wealth inequality and slightly reduce aggregate output. Decreasing progressivity of the income tax can generate large increases in output, as this stimulates entrepreneurial savings and capital formation, but at the cost of large increases in wealth concentration.
Palabra clave: Wealth, Taxation, and Entrepreneurship Tema: D91 - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics: Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making, E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, and H20 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue: General
Creator: Boerma, Job and Karabarbounis, Loukas Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 763 Abstract:
During the past two decades, households experienced increases in their average wages and expenditures alongside with divergent trends in their wages, expenditures, and time allocation. We develop a model with incomplete asset markets and household heterogeneity in market and home technologies and preferences to account for these labor market trends and assess their welfare consequences. Using micro data on expenditures and time use, we identify the sources of heterogeneity across households, document how these sources have changed over time, and perform counterfactual analyses. Given the observed increase in leisure expenditures relative to leisure time and the complementarity of these inputs in leisure technology, we infer a significant increase in the average productivity of time spent on leisure. The increasing productivity of leisure time generates significant welfare gains for the average household and moderates negative welfare effects from the rising dispersion of expenditures and time allocation across households.
Palabra clave: Leisure productivity, Inequality, Consumption, and Time use Tema: J22 - Time Allocation and Labor Supply, D10 - Household Behavior: General, D60 - Welfare Economics: General, and E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth
Creator: Chen, Daphne, Guvenen, Fatih, Kambourov, Gueorgui, Kuruscu, Burhanettin, and Ocampo, Sergio Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 764 Abstract:
How does wealth taxation differ from capital income taxation? When the return on investment is equal across individuals, a well-known result is that the two tax systems are equivalent. Motivated by recent empirical evidence documenting persistent heterogeneity in rates of return across individuals, we revisit this question. With such heterogeneity, the two tax systems have opposite implications for both efficiency and inequality. Under capital income taxation, entrepreneurs who are more productive, and therefore generate more income, pay higher taxes. Under wealth taxation, entrepreneurs who have similar wealth levels pay similar taxes regardless of their productivity, which expands the tax base, shifts the tax burden toward unproductive entrepreneurs, and raises the savings rate of productive ones. This reallocation increases aggregate productivity and output. In the simulated model parameterized to match the US data, replacing the capital income tax with a wealth tax in a revenue-neutral fashion delivers a significantly higher average lifetime utility to a newborn (about 7.5% in consumption-equivalent terms). Turning to optimal taxation, the optimal wealth tax (OWT) in a stationary equilibrium is positive and yields even larger welfare gains. In contrast, the optimal capital income tax (OCIT) is negative—a subsidy—and large, and it delivers lower welfare gains than the wealth tax. Furthermore, the subsidy policy increases consumption inequality, whereas the wealth tax reduces it slightly. We also consider an extension that models the transition path and find that individuals who are alive at the time of the policy change, on average, would incur large welfare losses if the new policy is OCIT but would experience large welfare gains if the new policy is an OWT. We conclude that wealth taxation has the potential to raise productivity while simultaneously reducing consumption inequality.
Palabra clave: Capital income tax, Wealth taxation, Wealth inequality, Power law models, and Rate of return heterogeneity Tema: E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, H21 - Taxation and Subsidies: Efficiency; Optimal Taxation, E22 - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity, and E62 - Fiscal Policy
Creator: Krueger, Dirk, Mitman, Kurt, and Perri, Fabrizio Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 529 Abstract:
The goal of this chapter is to study how, and by how much, household income, wealth, and preference heterogeneity amplify and propagate a macroeconomic shock. We focus on the U.S. Great Recession of 2007-2009 and proceed in two steps. First, using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we document the patterns of household income, consumption and wealth inequality before and during the Great Recession. We then investigate how households in different segments of the wealth distribution were affected by income declines, and how they changed their expenditures differentially during the aggregate downturn. Motivated by this evidence, we study several variants of a standard heterogeneous household model with aggregate shocks and an endogenous cross-sectional wealth distribution. Our key finding is that wealth inequality can significantly amplify the impact of an aggregate shock, and it does so if the distribution features a sufficiently large fraction of households with very little net worth that sharply increase their saving (i.e. they are not hand-to mouth) as the recession hits. We document that both these features are observed in the PSID. We also investigate the role that social insurance policies, such as unemployment insurance, play in shaping the cross-sectional income and wealth distribution, and through it, the dynamics of business cycles.
Palabra clave: Social Insurance, Recessions, and Wealth Inequality Tema: E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, and J65 - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
Creator: Guvenen, Fatih and Smith, Anthony Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 485 Abstract:
This paper uses the information contained in the joint dynamics of individuals’ labor earnings and consumption-choice decisions to quantify both the amount of income risk that individuals face and the extent to which they have access to informal insurance against this risk. We accomplish this task by using indirect inference to estimate a structural consumption-savings model, in which individuals both learn about the nature of their income process and partly insure shocks via informal mechanisms. In this framework, we estimate (i) the degree of partial insurance, (ii) the extent of systematic differences in income growth rates, (iii) the precision with which individuals know their own income growth rates when they begin their working lives, (iv) the persistence of typical labor income shocks, (v) the tightness of borrowing constraints, and (vi) the amount of measurement error in the data. In implementing indirect inference, we find that an auxiliary model that approximates the true structural equations of the model (which are not estimable) works very well, with negligible small sample bias. The main substantive findings are that income shocks are not very persistent, systematic differences in income growth rates are large, individuals have substantial amounts of information about their income growth rates, and about one-half of income shocks are effectively smoothed via partial insurance. Putting these findings together, we argue that the amount of uninsurable lifetime income risk that individuals perceive is substantially smaller than what is typically assumed in calibrated macroeconomic models with incomplete markets.
Palabra clave: Labor income risk, Persistence , Heterogeneous income profiles, Idiosyncratic shocks, and Indirect Inference Estimation Tema: D81 - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty, D91 - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics: Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making, E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, and C33 - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models: Panel Data Models; Spatio-temporal Models