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An Empirical Analysis of the Saving Behavior of Elderly Households in Japan


  • Charles Yuji HORIOKA
  • Yoko NIIMI


In this paper, we analyze the saving behavior of elderly households in Japan in order to shed light on the impact of population aging on the household saving rate. The data sources we use for this analysis are the“ Family Income and Expenditure Survey,” conducted by the Statistics Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, and the“ Survey on Households and Saving,” conducted by the Yu-cho Foundation. Our main findings are as follows: (1) In Japan, the saving rate of the working elderly is positive but lower than that of younger households. By contrast, the saving rate of the retired elderly is negative and high in absolute magnitude;(2) the wealth decumulation rate of the retired elderly has shown a moderate increase over time, and this is due primarily to reductions in social security benefits; and( 3) the retired elderly are decumulating their wealth but not as rapidly as predicted by the simple life cycle model, due primarily to the presence of precautionary saving and bequest motives. JEL Classification Codes: D14, D15, E21

Suggested Citation

  • Charles Yuji HORIOKA & Yoko NIIMI, 2017. "An Empirical Analysis of the Saving Behavior of Elderly Households in Japan," Economic Analysis, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), vol. 196, pages 31-46, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:esj:esriea:196c

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    Cited by:

    1. Luigi Ventura & Charles Yuji Horioka, 2020. "The wealth decumulation behavior of the retired elderly in Italy: the importance of bequest motives and precautionary saving," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 575-597, September.
    2. Horioka, Charles Yuji & Gahramanov, Emin & Hayat, Aziz & Tang, Xueli, 2021. "The impact of bequest motives on labor supply and retirement behavior in Japan: A theoretical and empirical analysis," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    3. Niimi, Yoko & Horioka, Charles Yuji, 2019. "The wealth decumulation behavior of the retired elderly in Japan: The relative importance of precautionary saving and bequest motives," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 52-63.
    4. Charles Yuji Horioka & Yoko Niimi, 2019. "Household Debt and Aging in Japan," ISER Discussion Paper 1068, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    5. Charles Yuji Horioka, 2021. "Is the selfish life-cycle model more applicable in Japan and, if so, why? A literature survey," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 157-187, March.
    6. Kim, Chul Ju (ed.), 2019. "Aging Societies: Policies and Perspectives," ADBI Books, Asian Development Bank Institute, number 9, Décembre.
    7. Charles Yuji Horioka, 2020. "Does the Selfish Life-Cycle Model Apply in the Case of Japan?," Discussion Paper Series DP2020-14, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
    8. Charles Yuji Horioka & Luigi Ventura, 2024. "Do the Retired Elderly in Europe Decumulate Their Wealth? The Importance of Bequest Motives, Precautionary Saving, Public Pensions, and Homeownership," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 70(1), pages 187-212, March.
    9. Charles Yuji Horioka & Emin Gahramanov & Aziz Hayat & Xueli Tang, 2019. "The Impact of Bequest Motives on Retirement Behavior in Japan: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Discussion Paper Series DP2019-26, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
    10. Agnieszka Zawadzka & Małgorzata Grzywińska‐Rąpca, 2023. "Financial savings structure—Eurozone and Visegrad Group," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(1), pages 699-717, January.

    More about this item


    Elderly; Saving; Life Cycle Model;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D15 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth


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