Consumption versus expenditure

Mark Aguiar, Erik Hurst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

352 Scopus citations


Previous authors have documented a dramatic decline in food expenditures at the time of retirement. We show that this is matched by an equally dramatic rise in time spent shopping for and preparing meals. Using a novel data set that collects detailed food diaries for a large cross section of U.S. households, we show that neither the quality nor the quantity of food intake deteriorates with retirement status. We also show that unemployed households experience a decline in food expenditure and food consumption commensurate with the impact of job displacement on permanent income. These results highlight how direct measures of consumption distinguish between anticipated and unanticipated shocks to income whereas measures of expenditures obscure the distinction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)919-948
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Political Economy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics


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