The Intergenerational Correlation of Consumption Expenditures

Publication Abstract

Kofi, Charles Kerwin, Sheldon H. Danziger, Geng Li, and Robert F. Schoeni. 2014. "The Intergenerational Correlation of Consumption Expenditures." American Economic Review, 104(5): 136-140.

Using data recently collected by the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we find that the intergenerational correlation in expenditures is no larger than that in income, suggesting limited intra-family risk-sharing. On the other hand, even after controlling for the intergenerational correlation in income, the expenditures correlation remains significant. This suggests that other factors such as preferences, access to credit, and non-pecuniary inter vivos transfers potentially played a role in consumption smoothing across generations within a family. We also find that the correlation coefficients estimated using food and imputed total expenditures are smaller than that estimated using the measured total expenditures.

10.1257/aer.104.5.136

PMCID: PMC4157657. (Pub Med Central)

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