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Housing prices and the high Chinese saving rate puzzle

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  • Xin Wang
  • Yi Wen
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Abstract

China’s over 25% aggregate household saving rate is one of the highest in the world. One popular view attributes the high saving rate to fast-rising housing prices in China. However, cross-sectional data do not show a significant relationship between housing prices and household saving rates. This article uses a simple consumption-saving model to explain why rising housing prices per se cannot explain China’s high household saving rate. Although borrowing constraints and demographic changes can translate housing prices to the aggregate saving rate, quantitative simulations of our model using Chinese time-series data on household income, housing prices, and demographics indicate that rising mortgage costs can increase the aggregate saving rate by at most 2 to 4 percentage points in the best down-payment structure.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2012-038.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2012-038

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Keywords: Economic conditions - China ; Housing - China ; Saving and investment - China;

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  1. Case Karl E. & Quigley John M. & Shiller Robert J., 2005. "Comparing Wealth Effects: The Stock Market versus the Housing Market," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-34, May.
  2. Kai Liu & Marcos Chamon & Eswar Prasad, 2010. "Income Uncertainty and Household Savings in China," IMF Working Papers 10/289, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Chamon, Marcos & Prasad, Eswar, 2007. "Why Are Saving Rates of Urban Households in China Rising?," IZA Discussion Papers 3191, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Milton Friedman, 1957. "Introduction to "A Theory of the Consumption Function"," NBER Chapters, in: A Theory of the Consumption Function, pages 1-6 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kaiji Chen & Ayse Imrohoroglu & Selo Imrohoroglu, 2005. "Japanese Saving Rate," Macroeconomics 0502017, EconWPA.
  6. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1, octubre-d.
  7. Selahattin Imrohoroglu & Ayse Imrohoroglu & Kaiji Chen, 2006. "The Japanese Saving Rate," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1850-1858, December.
  8. Fumio Hayashi, 1986. "Why Is Japan's Saving Rate So Apparently High?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1986, Volume 1, pages 147-234 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Charles Yuji Horioka & Junmin Wan, 2006. "The Determinants of Household Saving in China: A Dynamic Panel Analysis of Provincial Data," ISER Discussion Paper 0676, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University, revised Sep 2007.
  10. Christopher D. Carroll & Jody Overland & David N. Weil, 1995. "Saving and growth with habit formation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Franco Modigliani & Shi Larry Cao, 2004. "The Chinese Saving Puzzle and the Life-Cycle Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(1), pages 145-170, March.
  12. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2009. "The Competitive Saving Motive: Evidence from Rising Sex Ratios and Savings Rates in China," NBER Working Papers 15093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Yi Wen, 2009. "Saving and growth under borrowing constraints explaining the "high saving rate" puzzle," Working Papers 2009-045, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
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Cited by:
  1. Christian Dreger & Tongsan Wang & Yanqun Zhang, 2013. "Understanding Chinese Consumption: The Impact of Hukou," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1341, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Bussière, Matthieu & Kalantzis, Yannick & Lafarguette, Romain & Sicular, Terry, 2013. "Understanding household savings in China: the role of the housing market and borrowing constraints," MPRA Paper 44611, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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