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Trends, Random Walks, and Tests of the Permanent Income Hypothesis

  • Economics


Recent studies find that consumption is excessively sensitive to income. These studies assume that income is stationary around a deterministic trend. The data, however, do not reject the hypothesis that disposable income is a random walk with drift. If income is indeed a random walk, then the standard testing procedure is greatly biased toward finding excess sensitivity. Moreover, if income is borderline stationary, this procedure is also seriously biased.

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