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Disentangling the importance of the precautionary saving motive

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  • Kennickell, Arthur
  • Lusardi, Annamaria
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    Abstract

    We evaluate the importance of the precautionary saving motive by relying on a direct question about precautionary wealth from the 1995 and 1998 waves of the Survey of Consumer Finances. In this survey, a new question has been designed to elicit the amount of desired precautionary wealth. This allows us to assess the amount of precautionary accumulation and to overcome many of the problems of previous works on this topic. We find that a precautionary saving motive exists and affects virtually every type of household. However, precautionary savings account for only 8 percent of total wealth holdings. Even though this motive does not give rise to large amounts of wealth, particularly for young and middle-age households, it is particularly important for two groups: older households and business owners. Overall, we provide strong evidence that we need to take the precautionary saving motive into account when modeling saving behavior. --

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Center for Financial Studies (CFS) in its series CFS Working Paper Series with number 2006/15.

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    Date of creation: 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:200615

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    Keywords: Risk; Buffer-stock Models of Saving; Old Cohorts Wealth; Business Owners Wealth;

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    References

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    Cited by:
    1. Andrea Brandolini & Silvia Magri & Timothy M. Smeeding, 2010. "Asset-based measurement of poverty," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(2), pages 267-284.
    2. Pericoli, Filippo Maria & Ventura, Luigi, 2011. "Family dissolution and precautionary savings: an empirical analysis," MPRA Paper 36354, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Tokuoka, Kiichi, 2013. "Saving response to unemployment of a sibling," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 58-75.
    4. Laura Bartiloro & Cristiana Rampazzi, 2013. "Italian households’ saving and wealth during the crisis," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 148, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    5. Reichling, Felix, 2006. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Labor Market Equilibrium when Workers can Self-Insure," MPRA Paper 5362, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 16 Oct 2007.
    6. Daniel Schunk, 2009. "What Determines Household Saving Behavior? An Examination of Saving Motives and Saving Decisions," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 229(4), pages 467-491, August.

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