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Precautionary savings under liquidity constraints: evidence from Italy

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  • M. Deidda

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Abstract

In this paper, I empirically investigate precautionary savings under liquidity constraints in Italy using household panel data. Following Jappelli and Pistaferri (2000) I analyze a 3- year (1989-1993) rotating panel of the Bank of Italy Survey of Household Income and Wealth (SHIW). I exploit a unique indicator of subjective variance of income growth, which allows to measure the strength of the precautionary motive for saving, and a variety of survey-based indicators of liquidity constraints. However, my analysis deviates from Jappelli and Pistaferri’s in three aspects. First of all, I attempt to differentiate between the standard precautionary motive for saving caused by uncertainty from the one due to liquidity constraints. I address this issue by using an endogenous switching regression approach, which allows me to cope with endogeneity issues associated with sample splitting techniques. Secondly, I try to capture changes in consumption behaviour of households who are not constrained at present , but expect binding constraints in the future. Finally,I cope with the downward bias in the estimation of the parameter associated to the subjective variance of income growth, using a direct measure of risk aversion. I eventually found the precautionary motive for savings to be stronger for those households who face binding constraints, or expect constraints to be binding in the future. Indeed, a complementarity relation exists between precautionary savings and liquidity constraints. Moreover, the introduction of a survey-based measure of risk aversion allows a better identification of the coefficient associated with the subjective measure of variance of income growth.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia in its series Working Paper CRENoS with number 200918.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cns:cnscwp:200918

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Keywords: precautionary motive; liquidity constraints;

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  1. Jonathan S. Skinner, 1987. "Risky Income, Life Cycle Consumption, and Precautionary Savings," NBER Working Papers 2336, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Giucca, P. & Jappelli, T. & Terlizzese, D., 1992. "Earning Uncertainty and Precautionary Saving," Papers 161, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
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  7. Vassilis A. Hajivassiliou & Yannis M. Ioannides, 1999. "Unemployment and Liquidity Constraints," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9925, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
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  17. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 2001. "The Empirical Importance of Precautionary Saving," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 406-412, May.
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  20. Runkle, David E., 1991. "Liquidity constraints and the permanent-income hypothesis : Evidence from panel data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 73-98, February.
  21. Cagetti, Marco, 2003. "Wealth Accumulation over the Life Cycle and Precautionary Savings," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 21(3), pages 339-53, July.
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