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Keynes Fund


Research Output

Dr. Hamish Low - Individual response to risk over the business cycle (JHLE).

Saving on a Rainy Day, Borrowing for a Rainy Day, Sule Alan, Thomas F. Crossley and Hamish W. Low, (2015).

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to understand what a recession means for individual consumers, and to model in a life-cycle framework how individuals respond to recessions. Our focus is on the sharp increase in savings rates that have been observed in the current and recent recessions. We show empirically that these saving spikes were short-lived and common to all working age groups. We then study life-cycle models in which recessions involve one or more of: (i) an aggregate permanent negative shock to individual income; (ii) an increase in the variance of idiosyncratic permanent shocks; (iii) a tightening of credit constraints; (iv) asset market crashes. In simulations and in the data we aggregate explicitly from individual behavior. We model credit tightening as a constraint on new borrowing and this generates an option value of borrowing in good times. We show that the rise in the aggregate savings ratio is driven by increases in uncertainty, rather than tighening of credit; temporary shocks to the supply of credit generate increases in saving only among younger agents.

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Job Loss, Credit Constraints, and Consumption Growth, Thomas F. Crossley and Hamish W. Low, (2014), The Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol 96(5), pp. 876–884

Abstract: We use direct evidence on credit constraints to study their importance for household consumption growth and for welfare. We distentangle the direct effect on consumption growth of a currently binding credit constraint from the indirect effect of a potentially binding credit constraint that generates consumption risk. Our data are focused on job losers. We find that less than 5% of job losers experience a binding credit constraint, but those who do experience significant welfare losses, and consumption growth is 24% higher than for the rest of the population. However, even among those who are unconstrained and are able to borrow if needed, consumption responds to transitory income.

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