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China’s High Saving Rate: Myth and Reality

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Author Info

  • Guonan Ma
  • Wang Yi

Abstract

China’s saving rate is high from many perspectives – historical experience, international standards and model predictions. Furthermore, the average saving rate has been rising over time, with much of the increase taking place in the 2000s. What sets China apart from the rest of the world is that its rising aggregate saving has reflected high savings rates in all three sectors – corporate, household and government. Our evidence casts doubt on the proposition that distortions and subsidies account for China’s high saving rate. Instead, we argue that tough corporate restructuring (including pension and home ownership reforms), a marked Lewis-model transformation process (where the average wage exceeds the marginal product of labour in the subsistence sector) and rapid ageing process have all played more important roles. Such structural factors suggest that the Chinese saving rate may peak in the medium term.

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File URL: http://www.cepii.fr/IE/rev122/guonan.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by CEPII research center in its journal International Economics/Economie Internationale.

Volume (Year): (2010)
Issue (Month): 122 ()
Pages: 5-40

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Handle: RePEc:cii:cepiei:2010-2ta

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Keywords: Saving; corporate; household and government saving; chinese economy;

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  1. Jha, Shikha & Prasad, Eswar & Terada-Hagiwara, Akiko, 2009. "Saving in Asia: Issues for Rebalancing Growth," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 162, Asian Development Bank.
  2. Yin-Wong Cheung & Menzie D. Chinn & Eiji Fujii, 2009. "China's Current Account and Exchange Rate," CESifo Working Paper Series 2587, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Kjetil Storesletten & Fabrizio Zilibotti & Zheng Song, 2009. "Growing like China," 2009 Meeting Papers 912, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Richard Herd & Hu-Wei Hu & Vincent Koen, 2010. "Providing Greater Old-Age Security in China," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 750, OECD Publishing.
  5. Feng, Jin & He, Lixin & Sato, Hiroshi, 2009. "Public pension and household saving: Evidence from China," BOFIT Discussion Papers 2/2009, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
  6. Felix Salditt & Peter Whiteford & Willem Adema, 2007. "Pension Reform in China: Progress and Prospects," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 53, OECD Publishing.
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