Economics at your fingertips  

Estimating the marginal propensity to consume using the distributions of income, consumption, and wealth

Jonathan Fisher, David S. Johnson, Timothy M. Smeeding and Jeffrey Thompson ()

Journal of Macroeconomics, 2020, vol. 65, issue C

Abstract: Studies of economic inequality almost always separately examine income, consumption, and wealth inequality, and hence, miss the important synergy amongst the three measures explicit in the life-cycle budget constraint. These joint distributions, however, are important in evaluating macroeconomic impacts of changes in income because the response may differ across the wealth distribution. This heterogeneity in the response to income changes can have significant impact on the effectiveness of government fiscal policy. Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics from 1999–2013, we examine how the marginal propensity to consume (MPC) differs across the wealth distribution. We find that the MPC is lower at higher wealth quintiles, indicating that low wealth households cannot smooth consumption as much as other households. This implies that increasing wealth inequality likely reduces aggregate consumption, which, in turn, could limit economic growth.

Keywords: Marginal propensity to consume; Wealth distribution; Inequality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D15 D30 E21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (12) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
Working Paper: Estimating the marginal propensity to consume using the distributions of income, consumption and wealth (2019) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

DOI: 10.1016/j.jmacro.2020.103218

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Macroeconomics is currently edited by Douglas McMillin and Theodore Palivos

More articles in Journal of Macroeconomics from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Catherine Liu ().

Page updated 2022-11-01
Handle: RePEc:eee:jmacro:v:65:y:2020:i:c:s0164070420301440