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Public pension and household saving: Evidence from urban China

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  • Feng, Jin
  • He, Lixin
  • Sato, Hiroshi

Abstract

We relate household savings to pension reform, to explain the high household savings rates in urban China from a new perspective. We use the exogenous – policy-induced – variation in pension wealth to estimate explicitly the impact of pension wealth on household savings, and obtain evidence of a significant offset effect of pension wealth on household savings. Although the size of the effect depends on the parameter values assumed, the finding that household savings are affected by pension reform is robust. Our estimates show that, under plausible scenarios, pension reform boosted household savings rates in 1999 by about 6–9 percentage points for cohorts aged 25–29 and by about 2–3 percentage points for cohorts aged 50–59. Our results also indicate that declining pension wealth reduces expenditure on education and health more than on other consumption items.

Suggested Citation

  • Feng, Jin & He, Lixin & Sato, Hiroshi, 2011. "Public pension and household saving: Evidence from urban China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 470-485.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:39:y:2011:i:4:p:470-485
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2011.01.002
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pensions; Pension reform; Household savings rate; China;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • P43 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Finance; Public Finance

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