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Household Saving Behaviour in New Zealand: Why do Cohorts Behave Differently?

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  • Grant M Scobie
  • John K Gibson

    ()
    (The Treasury)

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to add to the understanding of saving decisions by households. The saving behaviour of households is found to differ depending on the birth cohort of the household head. This paper seeks to explain why this pattern might exist. It is based on an analysis of synthetic cohorts derived from unit record data taken from the Household Economic Survey (HES) for the March years 1984 to 1998. The need to use synthetic cohorts arises as the HES is not a longitudinal panel survey, but rather a time series of independent cross-sectional samples. We use a range of regression models to separate out the effect of age, birth-year cohort and year on saving rates. The typical saving rates for the cohorts born between 1920 and 1939 are found to be significantly lower relative to the younger and older cohorts studied. This pattern of cohort effects is robust to the inclusion of conditioning variables; to the trimming from the sample of households with either negative or very large ratios of savings to consumption, and to different definitions of saving. Some exploratory investigation supports the hypothesis that changes in the economic and policy environment help explain the different saving behaviour of different birth cohorts. Tentative results suggest that more ?favourable environments are associated with lower rates of lifetime saving.

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File URL: http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/research-policy/wp/2003/03-32/twp03-32.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by New Zealand Treasury in its series Treasury Working Paper Series with number 03/32.

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Length: 33
Date of creation: Dec 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nzt:nztwps:03/32

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Keywords: Household saving rates; cohort effects; New Zealand; economic and social policies;

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References

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  1. Tullio Jappelli, 1999. "The Age-Wealth Profile and The Life-Cycle Hypothesis: a Cohort Analysis with a Time Series of Cross-Sections of Italian Households," CSEF Working Papers 14, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  2. David A. Wise & Steven F. Venti, 1993. "The Wealth of Cohorts: Retirement Saving and the Changing Assets of Older Americans," NBER Working Papers 4600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Feldstein, Martin, 1996. "Social Security and Saving: New Time Series Evidence," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(2), pages 151-64, June.
  4. John K Gibson & Grant M Scobie, 2001. "Household Saving Behaviour in New Zealand: A Cohort Analysis," Treasury Working Paper Series 01/18, New Zealand Treasury.
  5. Robin L. Lumsdaine & David A. Wise, 1994. "Aging and Labor Force Participation: A Review of Trends and Explanations," NBER Chapters, in: Aging in the United States and Japan: Economic Trends, pages 7-42 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Caballero, Ricardo J, 1991. "Earnings Uncertainty and Aggregate Wealth Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 859-71, September.
  7. Iris Claus & Grant Scobie, 2002. "Saving in New Zealand: Measurement and Trends," Treasury Working Paper Series 02/02, New Zealand Treasury.
  8. Martin Feldstein & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "Social Security," NBER Working Papers 8451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002. "Social security," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324 Elsevier.
  9. Shorrocks, A F, 1975. "The Age-Wealth Relationship: A Cross-Section and Cohort Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 57(2), pages 155-63, May.
  10. Deaton, Angus, 1985. "Panel data from time series of cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 109-126.
  11. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John Sabelhaus, 1996. "Understanding the Postwar Decline in U.S. Saving: A Cohort Analysis," NBER Working Papers 5571, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Orazio Attanasio & James Banks, 1998. "Trends in household saving: a tale of two countries," IFS Working Papers W98/15, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  13. Nijman, T.E. & Verbeek, M.J.C.M., 1992. "Can cohort data be treated as genuine panal data?," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-153281, Tilburg University.
  14. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 2000. "Growth and Saving Among Individuals and Households," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 212-225, May.
  15. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-26, Sept./Oct.
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Cited by:
  1. Olivia S. Mitchell & John Piggott & Michael Sherris & Shaun Yow, 2006. "Financial Innovation for an Aging World," NBER Working Papers 12444, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Janice Burns & Maire Dwyer, 2007. "Households'attitudes to savings, investment and wealth," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 70, December.

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