Paul Lachine

民主的不平等性

芝加哥—美国家庭储蓄率为什么会在大衰退前剧减?我的两位芝加哥大学同事贝特兰(Marianne Bertrand)和摩尔斯(Adair Morse)给出了一个有趣的回答:因为收入不平等性的加剧。

贝特兰和摩尔斯发现,在危机爆发的前几年中,收入最高的5%的家庭消费较高的地区(通常以州为单位),收入水平较低的家庭消费也较高。在剔除了一系列可能的原因后,他们认为,较穷家庭会模仿同一地区较富家庭的消费模式。

与收入较低家庭“尽力赶上富豪”的观点一致的是,居住在高消费富裕消费者附近的小康之家会将大量支出花在富裕家庭的常见消费项目上,比如珠宝、美容、养生和家政服务等。事实上,许多人通过贷款来维持支持,这导致了在富人收入(和支出)更高的地区,较穷家庭陷入财务困境甚至破产的比例显著较高。若不是这种模仿性消费的话,小康之家近几年平均应能增加800美元的年储蓄。

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