NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Timing of Purchases and Aggregate Fluctuations

John V. Leahy, Joseph Zeira

NBER Working Paper No. 7672
Issued in April 2000
NBER Program(s):   EFG   ME

This paper analyzes how the decision of when to buy a durable good affects both non-durable consumption and business cycle dynamics. At the individual level, we show that the timing of durable goods purchases plays an important role in smoothing consumption over time. In the benchmark case, the time at which the agent purchases the durable good is the only variable that reacts to changes in wealth, while other variables, such as the consumption of non-durables or the amount of the durable that the individual purchases, remain unchanged. At the aggregate level, we show that timing decisions can serve as a mechanism for the amplification and propagation of aggregate shocks. A decline in wealth causes individuals to delay their durable goods purchases which reduces demand dramatically for some time.

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Published: Published as "Sectoral Shocks, Learning, and Aggregate Fluctuations", Review of Economic Studies, Vol. 60, no. 205 (1993): 777-794.

 
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