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Precautionary Savings and Income Uncertainty: Evidence from Japanese Micro Data

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  • Murata, Keiko

    (Econ and Social Research Institute, Cabinet Office of Japan)

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    Abstract

    This paper tests the existence of precautionary savings using subjective or self-reported measures of income uncertainty drawn from Japanese household data (primarily from those in their 30s). Two subjective measures are tested: one concerning labor earnings and the other concerning public pension benefits. The results show that, among either nuclear family households or households that do not receive income transfers from parents, there exist precautionary savings due to uncertainty concerning public pension benefits. As the respondents are primarily in their 30s, we find that those households start to save based on precautionary motives early in their lives. The finding that the effect of public pension uncertainty concerning savings is manifested in nuclear family households suggests that intergenerational risk-sharing reduces risk and therefore wealth accumulation. Precautionary savings are found to take the form of relatively low-risk assets; no precautionary savings are found in securities. No evidence has been found for precautionary savings being motivated by uncertainty over labor earnings when economic prospects are utilized as the measure of labor income uncertainty.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan in its journal Monetary and Economic Studies.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 3 (October)
    Pages: 21-52

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    Handle: RePEc:ime:imemes:v:21:y:2003:i:3:p:21-52

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    1. Dynan, Karen E, 1993. "How Prudent Are Consumers?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 1104-13, December.
    2. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
    3. Stark,Oded, 1999. "Altruism and Beyond," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521663731.
    4. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1995. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-02, McMaster University.
    5. Karen E. Dynan, 1993. "How prudent are consumers?," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 135, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    6. Mark Kazarosian, 1993. "Precautionary Savings- A Panel Study," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 247, Boston College Department of Economics.
    7. Saito, Makoto & Shiratsuka, Shigenori, 2003. "Precautionary Motives versus Waiting Options: Evidence from Aggregate Household Saving in Japan," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 21(3), pages 1-20, October.
    8. Zhou, Yanfei, 2003. "Precautionary saving and earnings uncertainty in Japan: A household-level analysis," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 192-212, June.
    9. Giucca, P. & Jappelli, T. & Terlizzese, D., 1992. "Earning Uncertainty and Precautionary Saving," Papers 161, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
    10. Christopher D. Carroll & Andrew A. Samwick, 1998. "How Important Is Precautionary Saving?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(3), pages 410-419, August.
    11. Martha Starr-McCluer, 1994. "Health insurance and precautionary saving," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 94-10, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    12. Sandmo, Agnar, 1970. "The Effect of Uncertainty on Saving Decisions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(3), pages 353-60, July.
    13. Engen, Eric M. & Gruber, Jonathan, 2001. "Unemployment insurance and precautionary saving," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 545-579, June.
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    Cited by:
    1. Francesco Giavazzi & Michael McMahon, 2008. "Policy Uncertainty and Precautionary Savings," NBER Working Papers 13911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Bessho, Shun-ichiro & Tobita, Eiko, 2008. "Unemployment risk and buffer-stock saving: An empirical investigation in Japan," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 303-325, August.
    3. Essig, Lothar, 2004. "Precautionary saving and old-age provisions: Do subjective saving motives measures work?," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 05-22, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    4. Nikolaus Bartzsch, 2008. "Precautionary Saving and Income Uncertainty in Germany – New Evidence from Microdata," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 228(1), pages 5-24, February.
    5. Saito, Makoto & Shiratsuka, Shigenori, 2003. "Precautionary Motives versus Waiting Options: Evidence from Aggregate Household Saving in Japan," Monetary and Economic Studies, Institute for Monetary and Economic Studies, Bank of Japan, vol. 21(3), pages 1-20, October.
    6. Charles Yuji Horioka, 2004. "The Stagnation of Household Consumption in Japan," CESifo Working Paper Series 1133, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Wataru Kureishi & Midori Wakabayashi, 2013. "What motivates single women to save? the case of Japan," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 681-704, December.

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