2017, №4

Intertemporal Choice and Durable Goods


The theory of intertemporal substitution is the most popular theory of the dynamics of household consumption used in different studies. However, there is no consensus among researchers on what model describes consumer preferences more accurately and which parameters can be considered to be correct. In light of this problem, the first section of the article focuses on the analysis of two groups of factors affecting the estimation of the parameters of the model — behavioral and methodological factors. Special attention is paid to the study of a particular group of consumers, which has not been considered by other authors while estimating the parameters of these models. In this paper, it is assumed that households with no financial assets except for loans to purchase durable goods also optimize their consumption in accordance with the real expected loan-rate. Based on the characteristics of this group of consumers, we specify and estimate the model of intertemporal choice with durable goods using household interview dataset from U. S. Consumer Expenditure Survey. Considering specific features of durables, debt-financed vehicles (cars) are used as a proxy for durable goods. Model specification, data processing, and evaluation method are discussed in the third, fourth and fifth sections. The sixth section discusses the results of the evaluation. Using Generalized Method of Moments, a statistically significant estimate of the elasticity of intertemporal substitution was obtained, which allowed to accept the proposed hypothesis. Thus, it is concluded that this group optimizes its consumption in accordance with a real expected auto-loan rate. Furthermore, the hypothesis of separability between durables and nondurables is not rejected. The conclusion summarizes the findings and outlines the directions of future research.

Sergey Viktorovich Filyasov – Bachelor of Economics, HSE University (Nizhny Novgorod, Russian Federation; e-mail: mcgintyserg@yandex.ru).

Aleksandr Vladimirovich Larin – Master of Economics, Senior Lecturer, HSE University (Nizhny Novgorod, Russian Federation; e-mail: la.nnov@gmail.com).

Anna Evgen’evna Novak – PhD Student, HSE University (Nizhny Novgorod, Russian Federation; e-mail: aenovak@hse.ru).