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Why is Italy Saving Rate so High?

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Author Info

  • Guiso, L.
  • Jappelli, T.
  • Terlizzese, D.

Abstract

In this paper we provide an explanation for three features that characterize the Italian savings rate: by international standards, Italy is a `high-saving' country; the Italian savings rate has declined markedly in the last three decades; the correlation between saving and growth is stronger in Italy than in countries at comparable stages of economic development. We compare the size and characteristics of credit and insurance markets in the major OECD countries and argue that the strikingly low development of Italian capital markets may explain these features of savings in Italy. In the second part of the paper we provide a number of empirical tests to assess the effect of earnings uncertainty and borrowing constraints on household saving. The results suggest that capital market imperfections are the likely source of the high Italian savings rate and of the strong saving-growth correlation. We consider the potential role of the public and informal sectors, bequests and the slope of the earnings profile, but reject these as explanations of Italian savings behaviour.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi in its series Papers with number 167.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: 1992
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:banita:167

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Postal: Banca d'Italia-Servizio Studi-Divisione Biblioteca e Pubblicazioni - Via N azionale, 91 -00184 Rome, Italy.
Web page: http://www.bancaditalia.it/
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Keywords: savings ; financial market;

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Cited by:
  1. Jappelli, Tullio & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2000. "Using subjective income expectations to test for excess sensitivity of consumption to predicted income growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 337-358, February.
  2. Bisin, Alberto & Guaitoli, Danilo, 1998. "Moral Hazard and Non-Exclusive Contracts," CEPR Discussion Papers 1987, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Albert Ando & Sergio Nicoletti-Altimari, 2004. "A micro simulation model of demographic development and households' economic behavior in Italy," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 533, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  4. Mariacristina Rossi, 2005. "Households' Consumption under the Habit Formation Hypothesis. Evidence from Italian Households using the Survey of Household Income and Wealth (SHIW)," Economics Discussion Papers 595, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  5. Jonathan Crook & Stefan Hochguertel, 2007. "US and European Household Debt and Credit Constraints," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-087/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  6. Guiso, L. & Kashyap, A.K. & Panetta, F. & Terlizzese, D., 2000. "Will a Common European Monetary Policy Have Asymmetric Effects?," Papers 384, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
  7. Orazio P. Attanasio, 1994. "The Intertemporal Allocation of Consumption: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4811, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Tullio Jappelli & Marco Pagano, 1998. "The Determinants of Savings: Lessons from Italy," CSEF Working Papers 01, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  9. Andrea Brandolini & Giovanni D’Alessio & Luigi Cannari & Ivan Faiella, 2004. "Household Wealth Distribution in Italy in the 1990s," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_414, Levy Economics Institute.
  10. Albert Ando & Luigi Guiso & Daniele Terlizzese, 1993. "Dissaving by the Elderly, Transfer Motives and Liquidity Constraints," NBER Working Papers 4569, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio, 2000. "Household Portfolios in Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 2549, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Tullio Jappelli & Franco Modigliani, 1998. "The Age-Saving Profile and the Life-Cycle Hypothesis," CSEF Working Papers 09, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  13. Luca Casolaro & Leonardo Gambacorta & Luigi Guiso, 2005. "Regulation, formal and informal enforcement and the development of the household loan market. Lessons from Italy," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 560, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  14. Axel Börsch-Supan & Anette Reil-Held & Ralf Rodepeter & Reinhold Schnabel & University of Mannheim & Germany, 2000. "Household Savings in Germany," Macroeconomics 0004053, EconWPA.

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