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Why are Saving Rates so High in China?

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Author Info

  • Dennis Tao Yang

    (The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research)

  • Junsen Zhang

    (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

  • Shaojie Zhou

    (Tsinghua University)

Abstract

In this paper, we define "The Chinese Saving Puzzle" as the persistently high national saving rate at 34-53 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the past three decades and a surge in the saving rate by 11 percentage points from 2000 to 2008. Using data from the Flow of Funds Accounts (FFA) and Urban Household Surveys (UHS) supplemented by the findings from existing studies, we analyze the sources and causes of China's high and rising saving rates in the government, corporate, and household sectors. Although the causes of China's high saving are complex, we suggest that the evolving economic, demographic, and policy trends in the internal and external environments of the Chinese economy will likely lead to a decline in national saving in the foreseeable future.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research in its series Working Papers with number 312010.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hkm:wpaper:312010

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  1. Tamim Bayoumi & Hui Tong & Shang-Jin Wei, 2011. "The Chinese Corporate Savings Puzzle: A Firm-level Cross-Country Perspective," NBER Chapters, in: Capitalizing China, pages 283-308 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "The Competitive Saving Motive: Evidence from Rising Sex Ratios and Savings Rates in China," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(3), pages 511 - 564.
  3. Charles Yuji Horioka & Junmin Wan, 2007. "The Determinants of Household Saving in China: A Dynamic Panel Analysis of Provincial Data," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(8), pages 2077-2096, December.
  4. John Knight & Jinjun Xue, 2006. "How High is Urban Unemployment in China?," Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(2), pages 91-107.
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  6. Wang, Yan, 1995. "Permanent Income and Wealth Accumulation: A Cross-Sectional Study of Chinese Urban and Rural Households," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(3), pages 523-50, April.
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  8. Yingyi Qian, 1988. "Urban and Rural Household Saving in China," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 35(4), pages 592-627, December.
  9. Lee, Jong-Wha & Hong, Kiseok, 2012. "Economic growth in Asia: Determinants and prospects," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 101-113.
  10. Christopher D. Carroll & Lawrence H. Summers, 1991. "Consumption Growth Parallels Income Growth: Some New Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: National Saving and Economic Performance, pages 305-348 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Guonan Ma & Wang Yi, 2010. "China's high saving rate: myth and reality," BIS Working Papers 312, Bank for International Settlements.
  12. Chow, Gregory C, 1985. "A Model of Chinese National Income Determination," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(4), pages 782-92, August.
  13. Meng, Xin, 2003. "Unemployment, consumption smoothing, and precautionary saving in urban China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 465-485, September.
  14. Dennis Tao Yang & Vivian Chen & Ryan Monarch, 2009. "Rising Wages: Has China Lost Its Global Labor Advantage?," Economics Program Working Papers 09-03, The Conference Board, Economics Program.
  15. Jefferson, Gary H. & Su, Jian, 2006. "Privatization and restructuring in China: Evidence from shareholding ownership, 1995-2001," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 146-166, March.
  16. 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.
  17. Giles, John & Park, Albert & Zhang, Juwei, 2005. "What is China's true unemployment rate?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 149-170.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Joseph Fan & Randall Morck, 2012. "Capitalizing China," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number morc10-1.
  2. Etienne Farvaque & Alexander Mihailov & Alireza Naghavi, 2011. "The Grand Experiment of Communism: Discovering the Trade-off between Equality and Efficiency," Working Papers 2011.70, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  3. Keyu Jin & Stéphane Guibaud & Nicolas Coeurdacier, 2013. "Credit constraints and growth in a global economy," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 54261, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Bacchetta, P. & Benhima, K. & Kalantzis, Y., 2013. "Optimal Exchange Rate Policy in a Growing Semi-Open Economy," Working papers 452, Banque de France.
  5. Riccardo Fiorentini, 2011. "Global Imbalances, the International Crisis and the Role of the Dollar," Working Papers 18/2011, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
  6. Yang, Dennis Tao, 2012. "Aggregate Savings and External Imbalances in China," IZA Discussion Papers 6964, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Ge, Suqin & Yang, Dennis Tao & Zhang, Junsen, 2012. "Population Policies, Demographic Structural Changes, and the Chinese Household Saving Puzzle," IZA Discussion Papers 7026, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. 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.
  9. Skold, Alida S., 2011. "Overview of the Evolution of China's Central Bank and Monetary Policy: Correlation to the European Union," MPRA Paper 33608, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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