I build a dynamic consumption-savings model in which agents[U+05F3] choices are distorted by the focusing effect: agents overweight the utility of goods in which their options differ more. I show that the consumption-savings choice depends both on the marginal return on savings and on the total return on savings, implying that the incentive to save may increase with the initial level of wealth. As a consequence, a salience-based poverty trap may exist when the marginal return on savings is sufficiently high and sufficiently flat. I also consider the case of a perfect credit market and show that a poverty trap may emerge when the salience of consumption is bounded above. I discuss policy implications. In particular, imposing upon an agent a punishment for decreasing savings below a threshold leads to a higher level of savings, even when the threshold triggering the punishment is not binding.

Focusing effect and the poverty trap

Canidio A.
2015

Abstract

I build a dynamic consumption-savings model in which agents[U+05F3] choices are distorted by the focusing effect: agents overweight the utility of goods in which their options differ more. I show that the consumption-savings choice depends both on the marginal return on savings and on the total return on savings, implying that the incentive to save may increase with the initial level of wealth. As a consequence, a salience-based poverty trap may exist when the marginal return on savings is sufficiently high and sufficiently flat. I also consider the case of a perfect credit market and show that a poverty trap may emerge when the salience of consumption is bounded above. I discuss policy implications. In particular, imposing upon an agent a punishment for decreasing savings below a threshold leads to a higher level of savings, even when the threshold triggering the punishment is not binding.
Behavioral poverty trap; Focusing effect; Inequality; Poverty; Salience
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11771/14247
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