Are Countries with Official International Restrictions "Liquidity Constrained?"
In this paper, I empirically examine consumption smoothing behavior across a broad group of countries using a unique data set that indicates whether residents in a country face an official government restriction. I then ask whether the ex ante consumption movements among restricted countries differ from those of unrestricted countries. To gauge the departure from standard consumption smoothing, I use the Campbell and Mankiw (1989, 1991) approach of regressing consumption growth on income growth and instrumenting with lagged variables. Interestingly, I find that consumption growth for residents in countries that impose international restrictions has a significantly higher coefficient on income growth than for residents in countries without those restrictions. Thus, a greater proportion of consumers facing international restrictions appear to act as though they are liquidity constrained according to the Campbell and Mankiw approach. I also discuss alternative interpretations that do not depend upon liquidity constraints.
Published: European Economic Review, Vol. 41, no. 6 (June 1997): 1070-1109.