Mental Accounts and Consumption Sensitivity Across the Distribution of Liquid Assets

Vol: 
25/2024
Author name: 
Graham J
McDowall RA
Year: 
2024
Month: 
April
Abstract: 

We study consumption spending responses to predictable income using household-level data from a U.S. financial institution. Even for households with large liquid asset balances, we find no spending in anticipation of income receipt, substantial spending following receipt, and significant front-loading with respect to date of receipt. To rationalize these findings, we develop a tractable model of mental accounts where consumption choices are partitioned across current income and current assets. Our model reproduces the timing, magnitude, and cross-section of consumption responses observed in the data. Finally, we use the model to study the effectiveness of targeted and untargeted fiscal stimulus policies.

Publication file: 

Updated:  29 May 2024/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAMA admin