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We propose a new category of consumption goods, memorable goods, that generate a flow of utility after consumption. We analyze an otherwise standard consumption model that distinguishes memorable goods from other nondurable goods. Consumers optimally choose lumpy consumption of memorable goods. We empirically document differences between levels and volatilities of memorable and other goods expenditures. Memorable goods expenditures are about twice durable goods expenditures and half the volatility. The welfare cost of consumption fluctuations driven by income shocks are overstated if memorable goods are not accounted for and estimates of excess sensitivity of consumption might be due to memorable goods. Download Paper
We propose a new category of consumption goods, memorable goods, that generate a flow of utility after consumption. We analyze an otherwise standard consumption model that distinguishes memorable goods from other nondurable goods. Consumers optimally choose lumpy consumption of memorable goods. We then empirically document significant differences between levels and volatilities of memorable and other nondurable good expenditures. In two applications we find that the welfare cost of consumption fluctuations driven by income shocks are significantly overstated if memorable goods are not accounted for and that estimates of excess sensitivity of consumption might be entirely due to memorable goods. Download Paper
What has caused the rising gap in health insurance coverage by education in the U.S. over the last thirty years? How does the employment-based health insurance market interact with the labor market? What are the effects of social insurance such as Medicaid? By developing and structurally estimating an equilibrium model, I find that the interaction between labor market technological changes and the cost growth of medical services explains 60% to 70% of the gap. Using counterfactual experiments, I also evaluate the impact of further Medicaid eligibility expansion and employer mandates introduced in the Affordable Care Act on labor and health insurance markets. Download Paper
We propose a new classification of consumption goods into nondurable goods, durable goods and a new class which we call “memorable" goods. A good is memorable if a consumer can draw current utility from its past consumption experience through memory. We propose a novel consumption-savings model in which a consumer has a well-defined preference ordering over both nondurable goods and memorable goods. Memorable goods consumption differs from nondurable goods consumption in that current memorable goods consumption may also impact future utility through the accumulation process of the stock of memory. In our model, households optimally choose a lumpy profile of memorable goods consumption even in a frictionless world. Using Consumer Expenditure Survey data, we then document levels and volatilities of different groups of consumption goods expenditures, as well as their expenditure patterns, and show that the expenditure patterns on memorable goods indeed differ significantly from those on nondurable and durable goods. Finally, we empirically evaluate our model's predictions with respect to the welfare cost of consumption fluctuations and conduct an excess-sensitivity test of the consumption response to predictable income changes. We find that (i) the welfare cost of household-level consumption fluctuations may be overstated by 1:7 percentage points (11:9% points as opposed to 13:6% points of permanent consumption) if memorable goods are not appropriately accounted for; (ii) the finding of excess sensitivity of consumption documented in important papers of the literature might be entirely due to the presence of memorable goods. Download Paper
I develop and structurally estimate a non-stationary overlapping generations equilibrium model of employment and workers' health insurance and wage compensation, to investigate the determinants of rising inequality in health insurance and wages in the U.S. over the last 30 years. I find that skill-biased technological change and the rising cost of medical care services are the two most important determinants, while the impact of Medicaid eligibility expansion is quantitatively small. I conduct counterfactual policy experiments to analyze key features of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including employer mandates and further Medicaid eligibility expansion. I find that (i) an employer mandate reduces both wage and health insurance coverage inequality, but also lowers the employment rate of less educated individuals; and (ii) further Medicaid eligibility expansion increases employment rate of less educated individuals, reduces health insurance coverage disparity, but also causes larger wage inequality. Download Paper