NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Consumption over the Life Cycle: Facts from Consumer Expenditure Survey Data

Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde, Dirk Krueger

NBER Working Paper No. 9382
Issued in December 2002
NBER Program(s):   EFG

This paper uses a seminonparametric model and Consumer Expenditure Survey data to estimate life cycle profiles of consumption, controlling for demographics, cohort and time e.ects. In addition to documenting profiles for total and nondurable consumption, we devote special attention to the age expenditure pattern for consumer durables. We find hump-shaped paths over the life cycle for total, for nondurable and for durable expenditures. Changes in household size account for roughly half of these humps. The other half remains unaccounted for by the standard complete markets life cycle model. Our results imply that households do not smooth consumption over their lifetimes. This is especially true for services from consumer durables. Bootstrap simulations suggest that our empirical estimates are tight and sensitivity analysis indicates that the computed profiles are robust to a large number of different specifications.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9382

Published: Jesus Fernández-Villaverde & Dirk Krueger, 2007. "Consumption over the Life Cycle: Facts from Consumer Expenditure Survey Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 552-565, 06.

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