Aggregate Demand in Keynesian Analysis

What Determines Consumption Expenditure?

Consumption expenditure is spending by households and individuals on durable goods, nondurable goods, and services. Durable goods are items that last and provide value over time, such as automobiles. Nondurable goods are things like groceries—once you consume them, they are gone. Recall from The Macroeconomic Perspective that services are intangible things consumers buy, like healthcare or entertainment.

Keynes identified three factors that affect consumption:

  • Disposable income: For most people, the single most powerful determinant of how much they consume is how much income they have in their take-home pay, also known as disposable income, which is income after taxes.
  • Expected future income: Consumer expectations about future income also are important in determining consumption. If consumers feel optimistic about the future, they are more likely to spend and increase overall aggregate demand. News of recession and troubles in the economy will make them pull back on consumption.
  • Wealth or credit: When households experience a rise in wealth, they may be willing to consume a higher share of their income and to save less. When the U.S. stock market rose dramatically in the late 1990s, for example, U.S. savings rates declined, probably in part because people felt that their wealth had increased and there was less need to save. How do people spend beyond their income, when they perceive their wealth increasing? The answer is borrowing. On the other side, when the U.S. stock market declined about 40% from March 2008 to March 2009, people felt far greater uncertainty about their economic future, so savings rates increased while consumption declined.

Finally, Keynes noted that a variety of other factors combine to determine how much people save and spend. If household preferences about saving shift in a way that encourages consumption rather than saving, then AD will shift out to the right.

Visit this website for more information about how the recession affected various groups of people.

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