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MPC Heterogeneity and Household Balance Sheets†

MPC Heterogeneity and Household Balance Sheets† AbstractWe use sizable lottery prizes in Norwegian administrative panel data to explore how transitory income shocks are spent and saved over time and how households’ marginal propensities to consume (MPCs) vary with household characteristics and shock size. We find that spending peaks in the year of winning and gradually reverts to normal within five years. Controlling for all items on households’ balance sheets and characteristics such as education and income, it is the amount won, age, and liquid assets that vary systematically with MPCs. Low-liquidity winners of the smallest prizes (around US$1,500) are estimated to spend all within the year of winning. The corresponding estimate for high-liquidity winners of large prizes (US$8, 300–150,000) is slightly below one-half. While conventional models will struggle to account for such high MPC levels, we show that a two-asset life cycle model with a realistic earnings profile and a luxury bequest motive can account for both the time profile of consumption responses and their systematic covariation with observables. (JEL D12, D15, E21, G51, H24) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics American Economic Association

MPC Heterogeneity and Household Balance Sheets†

MPC Heterogeneity and Household Balance Sheets†

American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics , Volume 13 (4) – Oct 1, 2021

Abstract

AbstractWe use sizable lottery prizes in Norwegian administrative panel data to explore how transitory income shocks are spent and saved over time and how households’ marginal propensities to consume (MPCs) vary with household characteristics and shock size. We find that spending peaks in the year of winning and gradually reverts to normal within five years. Controlling for all items on households’ balance sheets and characteristics such as education and income, it is the amount won, age, and liquid assets that vary systematically with MPCs. Low-liquidity winners of the smallest prizes (around US$1,500) are estimated to spend all within the year of winning. The corresponding estimate for high-liquidity winners of large prizes (US$8, 300–150,000) is slightly below one-half. While conventional models will struggle to account for such high MPC levels, we show that a two-asset life cycle model with a realistic earnings profile and a luxury bequest motive can account for both the time profile of consumption responses and their systematic covariation with observables. (JEL D12, D15, E21, G51, H24)

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Publisher
American Economic Association
Copyright
Copyright © 2021 © American Economic Association
ISSN
1945-7715
DOI
10.1257/mac.20190211
Publisher site
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Abstract

AbstractWe use sizable lottery prizes in Norwegian administrative panel data to explore how transitory income shocks are spent and saved over time and how households’ marginal propensities to consume (MPCs) vary with household characteristics and shock size. We find that spending peaks in the year of winning and gradually reverts to normal within five years. Controlling for all items on households’ balance sheets and characteristics such as education and income, it is the amount won, age, and liquid assets that vary systematically with MPCs. Low-liquidity winners of the smallest prizes (around US$1,500) are estimated to spend all within the year of winning. The corresponding estimate for high-liquidity winners of large prizes (US$8, 300–150,000) is slightly below one-half. While conventional models will struggle to account for such high MPC levels, we show that a two-asset life cycle model with a realistic earnings profile and a luxury bequest motive can account for both the time profile of consumption responses and their systematic covariation with observables. (JEL D12, D15, E21, G51, H24)

Journal

American Economic Journal: MacroeconomicsAmerican Economic Association

Published: Oct 1, 2021

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