DP12812 | Complementarity, Income, and Substitution: A U(C,N) Utility for Macro

Publication Date

03/23/2018

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Abstract

In business-cycle, macro models the elasticity of intertemporal substitution (EIS) governs the economy's response to demand shocks and policy changes ("multipliers"). With general non-separable preferences, the EIS is determined by consumption-hours complementarity and the income effect on hours. Complementarity helps generate business-cycle co-movement following demand shocks, fiscal multipliers, and allows reconciling low EIS with low income-wealth effects. Yet existing utility functions restrict either complementarity, or income effects---or both---and artificially imply that EIS is exclusively a function of either. I propose a novel utility function where both complementarity and the income effect are arbitrary and can be calibrated separately.