2,124 research outputs found

    Excess Smoothness and Durable Goods: Evidence from Subjective Expectations Data

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    This paper derives and estimates a model where durable and non-durable consumption are allowed to be non-separable in utility and individuals face a convex adjustment cost whenever they want to purchase a new durable good. Subjective expectations data allow to identify and estimate the marginal propensity to consume out of permanent shocks, which is a key parameter for the understanding of the excess smoothness puzzle and for policy purposes.Durable Goods, Intertemporal Substitution, Excess Smoothness, Subjective Expectations

    Households’ saving and debt in Italy

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    We review savings trends in Italy, summarizing available empirical evidence on Italians’ motives to save, relying on macroeconomic indicators as well as on data drawn from the Bank of Italy’s Survey of Household Income and Wealth from 1984 to 2004. The macroeconomic data indicate that households’ saving has dropped significantly, although Italy continues to rank above most other countries in terms of saving. We then examine with microeconomic data four indicators of household financial conditions: the propensity to save, the proportion of households with negative savings, the proportion of households with debt, and the proportion of households that lack access to formal credit markets. By international comparison, the level of debt of Italian households and default risk are relatively low. But in light of the deep changes undergone by the Italian pension system, the fall in saving is a concern, particularly for individuals who entered the labor market after the 1995 reform and who have experienced the largest decline in pension wealth. JEL Classification: D9

    Investment in financial literacy, social security and portfolio choice : [version may 21, 2013]

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    We present an intertemporal portfolio choice model where individuals invest in financial literacy, save, allocate their wealth between a safe and a risky asset, and receive a pension when they retire. Financial literacy affects the excess return and the cost of stock market participation. Since literacy depreciates over time and has a cost related to current consumption, investors simultaneously choose how much to save, the portfolio allocation, and the optimal investment in literacy. This last depends on households' resources, its preference parameters and on how much financial literacy affects the returns on risky assets and the stock market participation cost, and the returns on social security wealth. The model implies one should observe a positive correlation between stock market participation (and risky asset share, conditional on participation) and financial literacy, and a negative correlation between the generosity of the social security system and financial literacy. The model also implies that the stock of financial literacy accumulated early in life is positively correlated with the individual's wealth and portfolio allocations later in life. Using microeconomic cross-country data, we find support for these predictions

    Investment in financial literacy and saving decisions

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    We present an intertemporal consumption model of consumer investment in financial literacy. Consumers benefit from such investment because their stock of financial literacy allows them to increase the returns on their wealth. Since literacy depreciates over time and has a cost in terms of current consumption, the model determines an optimal investment in literacy. The model shows that financial literacy and wealth are determined jointly, and are positively correlated over the life cycle. Empirically, the model leads to an instrumental variables approach, in which the initial stock of financial literacy (as measured by math performance in school) is used as an instrument for the current stock of literacy. Using microeconomic and aggregate data, we find a strong effect of financial literacy on wealth accumulation and national saving, and also show that ordinary least squares estimates underestate the impact of financial literacy on saving. JEL Classification: E2, D8, G1, J24 Keywords: Financial Literacy, Cognitive Abilities, Human Capital, Savin

    The Quality of Health Care: Evidence from Italy

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    We provide evidence that the quality of health care affects health outcomes, exploiting the substantial variability in the quality of the Italian public health service. The data are drawn from the 2001 Survey of Health, Aging and Wealth (SHAW), a joint venture of the Universities of Padua, Salerno, Venice and Tilburg, providing detailed information on health status, medical expenditure and use of hospitals and other health facilities, as well as detailed demographic and economic variables, for a sample of about 2000 individuals older than 50. The correlation between quality of health care and health outcomes is also confirmed in the panel section of the 1993-95 Bank of Italy Survey of Household Income and Wealth, which allows us to measure the impact of quality by controlling explicitly for regional effects.

    Risk Sharing and the Tax System

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    Several papers have documented that US consumers can not fully insure themselves against all their idiosyncratic risks, but little is understood about which mechanisms provide insurance. We investigate whether, as some suggest, progressive taxes provide additional insurance. The methodology distinguishes insurance from redistribution, and can by applied to testing any potential insurance mechanism. Using repeated cross-sections from the US consumer expenditure survey (CEX), we relate changes in consumption inequality to several measures of tax progressivity. Identification exploits the variation in taxes both across states and over time. Our results suggest, under weak assumptions, that progressive taxes do not induce insurance, while stronger assumptions quantify this effect.

    Inflation Dynamics and Subjective Expectations in the United States

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    We estimate a forward looking New Keynesian Phillips Curve (NKPC) for the U.S. using data from the Survey of Professional Forecasters as proxy for expected inflation. We find that the NKPC captures inflation dynamics well, independent from whether output or unit labor costs are used as a measure of marginal costs. We show that identification of expectations exploiting orthogonality to output is severely distorted and explains why the NKPC estimated with survey data performs much better than under rational expectations. We also find that lagged inflation enters the price equation significantly suggesting that there is a role for lagged inflation beyond that of capturing non-rationalities in expectations. Estimating the NKPC of Christiano et al. (2001) where lagged inflation enters due to price indexation by non-reoptimizing firms, we find that it captures the role of lagged inflation reasonably well.Inflation, Phillips curve, Subjective Expectations

    Survey Instruments and the Reports of Consumption Expenditures: Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys

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    This paper provides evidence on the relevance of the collection mode for the analysis of consumption data for the United States using complementary data sets from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CEX). We first show that population figures from consumption reports obtained with diaries markedly differ from those obtained using recall data. We then exploit multiple measurements of food expenditure available in the CEX to identify the effects of the collection mode on important features of the distribution of consumption (not just its mean). Finally, we show how to purge the expenditure measurements from most of the effects of the collection mode and thus obtain an improved measure of consumption that combines information from multiple reports in the CEX. The paper concludes by suggesting some guidelines for empirical research that have important implications for the measurement of inequality and well being.Consumption, Data Collection Methods, Rank Invariance

    Discounting and Expropriation Risk

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    This paper investigates the association between discounting and risk of expropriation and provides the theoretical conditions that make a positive association consistent with rationality. Moreover, using a national representative sample and a representative sample of the 50+ in eleven European countries, we show that discounting increases with expropriation risk. The two surveys give direct measures of discount rate as well as measures derived from households consumption decisions and provide proxies for expropriation from government and expropriation from criminal offenses.

    Bounds on repayment behavior: evidence for the consumer credit market

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    How does the punishment for default affect repayment behavior? We use administrative data, provided by the leading Italian lender of unsecured credit to the household sector, to analyze households repayment behavior. Administrative data are particularly well suited to study what factors are responsible for default, but raise a fundamental econometric problem, since they identify the determinants of repayment behavior only for those who are granted credit. To overcome this problem, we provide upper and lower bounds on the determinants of repayment behavior. Moreover, we show how to use the restrictions from the theory to narrow the bounds.Manski Bounds, Consumer Credit, Default
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