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Is Japan's Household Saving Rate Really High?


  • Horioka, Charles Yuji


This paper discusses, and measures the quantitative impact of a number of conceptual issues relating to the household saving rate data in the National Accounts of Japan. It finds that Japan's seemingly high household saving rate is biased due to the exclusion of capital transfers and real capital gains, the valuation of depreciation at historical cost rather than at replacement cost, the use of a residual measure of financial saving rather than Flow of Funds Accounts data theorem, and the treatment of expenditures on consumer durable as consumption rather than as saving, but that the biases are to a considerable extent mutually offsetting. It also finds that the Japan-U.S. gap in household (personal) savings rates is due largely to conceptual differences and deficiencies and that household saving in Japan consists primarily of financial saving (net lending), meaning that most of it is available to finance investment in other sectors of the economy and/or abroad. Copyright 1995 by The International Association for Research in Income and Wealth.

Suggested Citation

  • Horioka, Charles Yuji, 1995. "Is Japan's Household Saving Rate Really High?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 41(4), pages 373-397, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:41:y:1995:i:4:p:373-97

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Laura Power, 1998. "The Missing Link: Technology, Investment, And Productivity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 300-313, May.
    2. Caselli, Francesco & Wilson, Daniel J., 2004. "Importing technology," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 1-32, January.
    3. John Haltiwanger, 1997. "Measuring and analyzing aggregate fluctuations: the importance of building from microeconomic evidence," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 55-78.
    4. Dale W. Jorgenson & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2000. "Raising the Speed Limit: U.S. Economic Growth in the Information Age," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 125-236.
    5. Stephen D. Oliner & Daniel E. Sichel, 2000. "The Resurgence of Growth in the Late 1990s: Is Information Technology the Story?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 3-22, Fall.
    6. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M. R. A. Engel, 1999. "Explaining Investment Dynamics in U.S. Manufacturing: A Generalized (S,s) Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(4), pages 783-826, July.
    7. Caballero, Ricardo J., 1999. "Aggregate investment," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 813-862 Elsevier.
    8. John M. Abowd & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Julia Lane & Paul Lengermann & Kristin McCue & Kevin McKinney & Kristin Sandusky, 2005. "The Relation among Human Capital, Productivity, and Market Value: Building Up from Micro Evidence," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring Capital in the New Economy, pages 153-204 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, July.
    10. Mark E. Doms & Timothy Dunne, 1998. "Capital Adjustment Patterns in Manufacturing Plants," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(2), pages 409-429, April.
    11. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M. R. A. Engel & John C. Haltiwanger, 1995. "Plant-Level Adjustment and Aggregate Investment Dynamics," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 1-54.
    12. Wilson, Daniel J., 2009. "IT and Beyond: The Contribution of Heterogeneous Capital to Productivity," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27, pages 52-70.
    13. Timothy Dunne & Lucia Foster & John Haltiwanger & Kenneth Troske, 2000. "Wage and Productivity Dispersion in U.S. Manufacturing: The Role of Computer Investment," Working Papers 00-01, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    14. Caballero, Ricardo J & Engel, Eduardo M R A & Haltiwanger, John, 1997. "Aggregate Employment Dynamics: Building from Microeconomic Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 115-137, March.
    15. Erik Brynjolfsson & Lorin M. Hitt, 2003. "Computing Productivity: Firm-Level Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 793-808, November.
    16. Dmitriy Stolyarov & Boyan Jovanovic, 2000. "Optimal Adoption of Complementary Technologies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 15-29, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kuttner, Kenneth N. & Posen, Adam S., 2002. "Fiscal Policy Effectiveness in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 536-558, December.
    2. Milka Kirova & Robert E. Lipsey, 1998. "Measuring real investment: trends in the United States and international comparisons," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 3-18.
    3. Dekle, Robert, 2004. "Financing consumption in an aging Japan: The role of foreign capital inflows and immigration," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 506-527, December.
    4. R. Anton Braun & Daisuke Ikeda & Douglas H. Joines, 2006. "Saving and interest rates in Japan: Why they have fallen and why they will remain low," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Jun.
    5. Masakatsu Okubo, 2011. "The Intertemporal Elasticity of Substitution: An Analysis Based on Japanese Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 78(310), pages 367-390, April.
    6. F. Gerard Adams & Byron Gangnes, 2000. "Will Japan's Current Account Turn to Deficit?," Working Papers 200010, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
    7. David CASHIN & UNAYAMA Takashi, 2011. "The Intertemporal Substitution and Income Effects of a VAT Rate Increase: Evidence from Japan," Discussion papers 11045, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    8. Akyüz, Yilmaz., 2006. "From liberalization to investment and jobs : lost in translation," ILO Working Papers 993913203402676, International Labour Organization.
    9. Campbell, David W., 2004. "Explaining Japan's saving rate," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 797-815, August.
    10. repec:ilo:ilowps:391320 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Charles Yuji Horioka, 2007. "A Survey of Household Saving Behavior in Japan," ISER Discussion Paper 0684, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    12. Milka Kirova & Robert E. Lipsey, 1997. "Does the United States invest "too little?"," Working Papers 1997-020, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    13. David W. Campbell, 1999. "Explaining Japan's Saving Rate," Macroeconomics 9902004, EconWPA.

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