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Housing prices and the high Chinese saving rate puzzle

Author

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  • Wang, Xin
  • Wen, Yi

Abstract

China's over 25% aggregate household saving rate is one of the highest in the world. One popular view attributes the high saving rate to fast-rising housing prices in China. However, cross-sectional data do not show a significant relationship between housing prices and household saving rates. This article uses a simple consumption-saving model to explain why rising housing prices per se cannot explain China's high household saving rate. Although borrowing constraints and demographic changes can translate housing prices to the aggregate saving rate, quantitative simulations of our model using Chinese time-series data on household income, housing prices, and demographics indicate that rising mortgage costs can increase the aggregate saving rate by at most 2 to 4 percentage points in the best down-payment structure.

Suggested Citation

  • Wang, Xin & Wen, Yi, 2012. "Housing prices and the high Chinese saving rate puzzle," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 265-283.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:chieco:v:23:y:2012:i:2:p:265-283
    DOI: 10.1016/j.chieco.2011.11.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jody Overland & Christopher D. Carroll & David N. Weil, 2000. "Saving and Growth with Habit Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 341-355, June.
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    11. Milton Friedman, 1957. "Introduction to "A Theory of the Consumption Function"," NBER Chapters,in: A Theory of the Consumption Function, pages 1-6 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Dreger & Tongsan Wang & Yanqun Zhang, 2015. "Understanding Chinese Consumption: The Impact of Hukou," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 46(6), pages 1331-1344, November.
    2. Yu Zheng & Raul Santaeulalia, 2016. "The Price of Growth: Consumption Insurance in China 1989-2009," 2016 Meeting Papers 826, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Kaiji Chen & Yi Wen, 2017. "The Great Housing Boom of China," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 73-114, April.
    4. Huang, Daisy J. & Leung, Charles K. & Qu, Baozhi, 2015. "Do bank loans and local amenities explain Chinese urban house prices?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 19-38.
    5. repec:spr:soinre:v:132:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1309-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Shu-hen Chiang, 2014. "Housing Markets in China and Policy Implications: Comovement or Ripple Effect," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 22(6), pages 103-120, November.
    7. repec:eee:chieco:v:49:y:2018:i:c:p:197-209 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Bussière, Matthieu & Kalantzis, Yannick & Lafarguette, Romain & Sicular, Terry, 2013. "Understanding household savings in China: the role of the housing market and borrowing constraints," MPRA Paper 44611, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. repec:eee:chieco:v:46:y:2017:i:c:p:290-305 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Shi Li & John Whalley & Xiliang Zhao, 2013. "Housing price and household savings rates: evidence from China," Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(3), pages 197-217, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Chinese economy; Housing; Saving rate; Borrowing constraints; Housing reform;

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand

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