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Borrowing Constraints and Consumption Behavior in Japan

Midori Wakabayashi and Charles Horioka ()

ISER Discussion Paper from Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University

Abstract: In this paper, we use Japanese micro data to examine what characteristics borrowing-constrained households have and whether borrowing constraints have an important influence on household consumption behavior. We identify borrowing-constrained households using three different indicators, some of which are unique to our data source, and find that the characteristics of households that are likely to be borrowing-constrained differ depending on which of the three indicators we use. We also find that changes in current income have a positive and significant impact on changes in consumption in the case of households that are likely to be borrowing-constrained but not in the case of households that are unlikely to be borrowing-constrained. This result suggests that borrowing constraints have an important influence on household consumption behavior and that the presence of borrowing constraints is one explanation for why the life cycle-permanent income hypothesis does not hold in the real world.

Date: 2005-08
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