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Top Incomes and National Savings

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  • Andrew Leigh
  • Alberto Posso

Abstract

The relationship between income inequality and national savings is theoretically ambiguous, and past empirical studies have delivered mixed results. We revisit the question using a newly available source of data on inequality: the income share of the richest 10 percent and the richest 1 percent. Combining this with historical data on national savings rates, we are able to investigate the relationship for eleven developed countries over the period 1921-2002. We find no consistent relationship between lagged top income shares and current savings rates, and our standard errors are small enough that we are able to reject more than modest effects in either direction. We view this as suggesting that inequality at the top end of the distribution is not a major driver of national savings rates.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 588.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:588

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Keywords: national savings; inequality; top incomes; panel data;

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  1. Karen E. Dynan & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2000. "Do the rich save more?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-52, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Andrew Leigh, 2007. "How Closely Do Top Income Shares Track Other Measures of Inequality?," CEPR Discussion Papers 562, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
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  7. Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus & Serven, Luis, 2000. "Does income inequality raise aggregate saving?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 417-446, April.
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  13. Cecilia Garcia-Penalosa & Eve Caroli & Philippe Aghion, 1999. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1615-1660, December.
  14. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Roine, Jesper & Vlachos, Jonas & Waldenström, Daniel, 2007. "The Long-run Determinants of Inequality: What Can We Learn from Top Income Data?," Working Paper Series 721, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 30 Apr 2008.
  2. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
  3. Tuomas, Malinen, 2011. "Inequality and savings: a reassesment of the relationship in cointegrated panels," MPRA Paper 33350, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Santo Milasi, 2012. "Top Income Shares and Budget Deficits," CEIS Research Paper 249, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 08 Aug 2013.
  5. Tuomas Malinen, 2011. "Income Inequality and Savings: A Reassessment of the Relationship in Cointegrated Panels," DEGIT Conference Papers c016_076, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  6. Jan Behringer & Till van Treeck, 2013. "Income distribution and current account: A sectoral perspective," IMK Working Paper 125-2013, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
  7. Christian A. Belabed & Thomas Theobald & Till van Treeck, 2013. "Income Distribution and Current Account Imbalances," IMK Working Paper 126-2013, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
  8. Andrews, Dan & Jencks, Christopher & Leigh, Andrew, 2010. "Do Rising Top Incomes Lift All Boats?," IZA Discussion Papers 4920, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Jan Behringer & Till van Treeck, 2013. "Income Distribution and the Current Account: A Sectoral Perspective," INET Research Notes 35, Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET).
  10. Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco & El-Attar, Mayssun, 2012. "Income Inequality and Saving," IZA Discussion Papers 7083, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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