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What Determines Savings?

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Author Info

  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff

    ()
    (Boston University)

Abstract

What determines savings? The question is timely and important. The U.S. saving rate is less than half that of Japan, Germany, and other developed countries, and the imbalance in saving rates across countries is responsible, in large part for the imbalance in international trade. This book examines a number of important determinants of wealth accumulation, including retirement bequests, and precautionary saving motives, demographics, the tax structure, social security, and insurance institutions. Using a blend of theory, empirical research and simulation methods, it reaches some surprising conclusions about what determines savings. Kotlikoff notes that most of U.S. wealth is due not to life cycle saving for retirement but rather to bequests and other intergenerational transfers. The process of passing wealth from one generation to the next may be explained, in large part, because of imperfect annuity arrangements. In addition to life span uncertainty, the author points out other types of uncertainty such as uncertainty about future medical expenditures can greatly stimulate saving. Fiscal policies, such as unfunded social security, can dramatically alter a country's wealth, although the process can take many years. Unfortunately, Kotlikoff observes, official fiscal deficits are intrinsically unreliable for measuring the government's stance of fiscal policy. He also concludes that the baby busts currently underway in the United States, Europe, and Japan are likely to improve overall economic welfare despite their detrimental impacts on social security systems

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Bibliographic Info

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This book is provided by The MIT Press in its series MIT Press Books with number 0262611872 and published in 1989.

Volume: 1
Edition: 1
ISBN: 0-262-61187-2
Handle: RePEc:mtp:titles:0262611872

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu

Related research

Keywords: U.S. savings; wealth accumulation;

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Cited by:
  1. Fwu-Ranq Chang, 2001. "Life Insurance, Precautionary Saving and Contingent Bequest," CESifo Working Paper Series 444, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Marcus Klemm, 2012. "Job Security Perceptions and the Saving Behavior of German Households," Ruhr Economic Papers 0380, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  3. Loretti I. Dobrescu & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Alberto F. Motta, 2008. "Why Aren't Developed Countries Saving?," NBER Working Papers 14580, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Canova, Luigina & Rattazzi, Anna Maria Manganelli & Webley, Paul, 2005. "The hierarchical structure of saving motives," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 21-34, February.
  5. Erdős, Tibor, 1999. "Az infláció és néhány közgazdasági kategória kapcsolata
    [The relationship between inflation and some macroeconomic categories]
    ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(7), pages 629-656.
  6. Charles Yuji Horioka, 2001. "Are the Japanese Selfish, Altruistic, or Dynastic?," NBER Working Papers 8577, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Sharifah Haron & Deanna Sharpe & Mohamed Abdel-Ghany & Jariah Masud, 2013. "Moving Up the Savings Hierarchy: Examining Savings Motives of Older Malay Muslim," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 314-328, September.
  8. Abigail McKnight, 2011. "Estimates of the asset-effect: the search for a causal effect of assets on adult health and employment outcomes," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 43896, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

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