How important is precautionary saving?
AbstractWe estimate the fraction of the wealth of a sample of PSID respondents that is held because some households face greater income uncertainty than others. We first derive an equation characterizing the theoretical relationship between wealth and uncertainty in a buffer-stock model of saving. Next, we estimate that equation using PSID data; we find strong evidence that households engage in precautionary saving. Finally, we simulate the wealth distribution that would prevail if all households had the same uncertainty as the lowest-uncertainty group. We find that between 39 and 46 percent of wealth in our sample is attributable to uncertainty differentials across groups.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section with number 145.
Date of creation: 1993
Date of revision:
Other versions of this item:
- D91 - Microeconomics - - Intertemporal Choice and Growth - - - Intertemporal Consumer Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
- E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomics: Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
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