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Title: Essays in macroeconomics and the role of household heterogeneity in the Great Recession
Author: Larkin, Kieran P.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8500 1896
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis studies the role that household heterogeneity plays in macroeconomic dynamics. It tackles this topic by focusing on consumption behaviour during the Great Recession. Its overarching argument is threefold: Firstly, that heterogeneity is crucial for understanding the patterns observed in the data. Secondly, that the state of the economy and preceding environment has a first order impact on how the economy responds to shocks. Thirdly, inaction and illiquidity matter and by focusing on this margin we can gain a better understanding of consumer behaviour. In the three chapters I consider the role that labor market sorting, household portfolio choice, shocks to the availability of credit, and changes in the future path of expected income played in understanding the Great Recession. The first chapter investigates the role that labor market tranquillity prior to the Great Recession played in the magnitude of the subsequent consumption decline. It highlights the interaction between labor market sorting and the household portfolio choice in the determination of the economy's response to shocks. The second chapter looks at the role of credit conditions in household consumption dynamics. It argues that much of the literature has misunderstood the effect of a decline in credit availability during the Great Recession. It instead emphasizes the inaction response generated due to a tightening of the collateral constraint, which provides a better account of the Great Recession and of the borrowing behaviour of households in the micro data. The final chapter focuses on the car market and car purchasing behaviour during the last three US recessions, documenting important unusual features of the consumption response during the Great Recession. It uses these responses as an identification mechanism to uncover the importance of the shocks hitting the economy during the crisis, finding an important role for asset price shocks and a decline in the expected growth rate of household incomes in replicating the consumption dynamics.
Supervisor: Morten, R. ; Attanasio, O. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available