The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Some of the highly controversial questions in macroeconomics critically hinge on the value of a single parameter of consumer preference--the elasticity of intertemporal substitution. This paper provides new estimates of this parameter for individual G-7 and a panel of twenty OECD countries. We find that single equation GMM estimates are typically small and imprecise, consistent with Hall’s (1988) finding from the U.S. data. Estimation of a system of equations that takes into account the cross-equation restrictions implied by theory, however, generally gives larger and better determined values for the parameter. The panel procedure also yields relatively large estimates. Overall our multi-country results contradict the hypothesis of zero intertemporal substitution.