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The Determinants of Savings: Lessons from Italy

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In most of the postwar period Italy featured an abnormally high saving rate, compared to most other industrialized countries. But this is no longer true. Under any definition, in the last decade the Italian saving rate has fallen below the average of the developed economies. Why was the Italian saving ratio comparatively high and why has its decline been so dramatic? In this paper we consider various potential answers to these questions. We particularly focus on the recent slowdown in productivity growth, the development of credit and insurance markets, and the changes in the social security system. In the second part of the paper we use a series of repeated cross-sections from the Survey of Household Income and Wealth in order to check if the macroeconomic explanation for the decline in saving are consistent with microeconomic data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 01.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 1998
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Publication status: Published in Accounting for Saving: Financial Liberalization, Capital Flows and Growth in Latin America and Europe, C. Reinhart ed. Washington: Inter-American Development Bank, 1999
Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:01

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Keywords: saving;

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  1. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1995. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-02, McMaster University.
  2. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1991. "Why is Italy's Savings Rate So High?," CEPR Discussion Papers 572, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1992. "Saving, Growth and Liquidity Constraints," CEPR Discussion Papers 662, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Paxson, Christina, 1996. "Saving and growth: Evidence from micro data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 255-288, February.
  5. Christopher D. Carroll & David N. Weil, 1993. "Saving and growth: a reinterpretation," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 140, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Modigliani, Franco, 1985. "Life Cycle, Individual Thrift and the Wealth of Nations," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1985-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
  7. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244.
  8. Rossi, Nicola & Visco, Ignazio, 1995. "National saving and social security in Italy," Ricerche Economiche, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 329-356, December.
  9. Hayashi, Fumio & Ito, Takatoshi & Slemrod, Joel, 1988. "Housing finance imperfections, taxation, and private saving: A comparative simulation analysis of the United States and Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 215-238, September.
  10. Jappelli, Tullio, 1995. "Does social security reduce the accumulation of private wealth? Evidence from Italian survey data," Ricerche Economiche, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 1-31, March.
  11. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1988. "Consumption and Capital Market Imperfection: An International Comparison," CEPR Discussion Papers 244, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1991. "A sensitivity analysis of cross-country growth regressions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 609, The World Bank.
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Cited by:
  1. Andrea Butelmann & Francisco Gallego, 2001. "Estimaciones de los Determinantes del Ahorro Voluntario de los Hogares en Chile (1988 Y 1997)," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 97, Central Bank of Chile.
  2. Caterina Mendicino, 2005. "Credit Market Development, Asset Prices and Business Cycle," Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 120, Society for Computational Economics.
  3. Andrea Butelmann & Francisco Gallego, 2001. "Estimaciones de los determinantes del ahorro coluntario de los hogares en Chile (1988-1997)," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Felipe Morandé & Rodrigo Vergara & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series Edi (ed.), Análisis Empírico del Ahorro en Chile, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 141-190 Central Bank of Chile.
  4. Günther Fink & Silvia Redaelli, 2005. "Understanding Bequest Motives An Empirical Analysis of Intergenerational Transfers," DNB Working Papers 042, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.

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