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Consumption and Aggregate Constraints: Evidence from U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

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Abstract

State-level consumption exhibits excess sensitivity to lagged income to the same extent as U.S. aggregate data, but state-specific (idiosyncratic) consumption exhibits substantially less sensitivity to lagged state-specific incomea result that also holds for Canadian provinces. We propose the following interpretation: borrowing and lending in response to changes in consumer demand are easier for individual U.S. states than for the United States as a whole, and therefore, the measured deviation from the benchmark permanent income hypothesis model is smaller. However, lagged state-specific variables help predict state-specific consumption, suggesting that the PIH model still requires qualification.

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