Survey Evidence on Habit Formation: Existence, Specification, and Implication
94 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2020
Date Written: May 14, 2020
Habit formation is a staple of macroeconomics and finance, but insufficient micro evidence has led to controversies over its existence, specification, and implication. This paper documents new and extensive micro evidence for habit formation, through survey experiments eliciting ten preference parameters informative about habit formation. The evidence suggests that habit forms both internally and externally, depreciates by around two-thirds annually, and has an about equisized welfare impact as peer effect. I also propose and implement four tests of additive and multiplicative habits and find that these ubiquitous preferences are rejected. Evidence-based simulations show that combining habit formation with peer effect could explain the Easterlin paradox.
Keywords: Habit formation, micro evidence, Easterlin paradox, preference elicitation
JEL Classification: E21, G12, I31, C83
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation