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The German Savings Puzzle

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Author Info

  • Börsch-Supan, Axel H.
  • Reil-Held, Anette
  • Rodepeter, Ralf
  • Schnabel, Reinhold
  • Winter, Joachim

Abstract

Germany has one of the most generous public pension and health insurance systems of the world, yet private savings are high and remain positive until old age, even for most low income households. How can we explain what we might want to term the \"German savings puzzle\"? We provide a complicated answer that combines historical facts with capital market imperfections, housing, tax and pension policies. The first part of the paper describes how German households save, based on a synthetic panel of four cross sections of the German Income and Expenditure Survey (\"Einkommens- und Verbrauchsstichproben\") collected between 1978 and 1993. The second part links saving behaviour with public policy, notably tax and pension policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 20236.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Publication status: Published in Research in Economics 1 55(2001): pp. 15-38
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:20236

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References

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  1. Luigi Guiso & Tullio Jappelli, 2000. "Household Portfolios in Italy," CSEF Working Papers 43, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  2. Axel Börsch-Supan & Anette Reil-Held & Ralf Rodepeter & Reinhold Schnabel & University of Mannheim & Germany, 2000. "Household Savings in Germany," Macroeconomics 0004053, EconWPA.
  3. Karen E. Dynan, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumer Preferences: Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 391-406, June.
  4. Walliser, Jan & Winter, Joachim, 1998. "Tax incentives, bequest motives and the demand for life insurance: evidence from Germany," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 99-28, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  5. Borsch-Supan, Axel & Schnabel, Reinhold, 1998. "Social Security and Declining Labor-Force Participation in Germany," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 173-78, May.
  6. Anette Reil-Held, 1999. "Bequests and Aggregate Wealth Accumulation in Germany," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 24(1), pages 50-63, January.
  7. Deaton, Angus, 1985. "Panel data from time series of cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 109-126.
  8. Cigno, Alessandro & Rosati, Furio C., 1996. "Jointly determined saving and fertility behaviour: Theory, and estimates for Germany, Italy, UK and USA," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1561-1589, November.
  9. Borsch-Supan, Axel, 1992. "Saving and Consumption Patterns of the Elderly: The German Case," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 289-303.
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