Subjective Intertemporal Substitution
2015 Number 734
Revised August 2021
JEL classification: D12, D15, D84, E21
We estimate the elasticity of intertemporal substitution (EIS)—the response of expected consumption
growth to changes in the real interest rate—using subjective expectations data from the New York Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE). This unique data set allows us to estimate the consumption Euler equation with no auxiliary assumptions on the properties of expectations, which are instead necessary when using choice data. We find a subjective EIS of about 0.5, consistent with the results of much of the literature. In addition, planned consumption displays excess sensitivity to expected income changes, even among households not facing substantial liquidity constraints.