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The Impact of Public Pension on Household Consumption: Evidence from China’s Survey Data

Author

Listed:
  • Qing Zhao

    () (School of Public Administration and Policy, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China)

  • Zhen Li

    () (School of Public Administration and Policy, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China)

  • Taichang Chen

    () (China Research Center on Aging, Beijing 100054, China)

Abstract

It is of vital importance to examine the relationship between pensions and household consumption/saving because this forms a link between social policy and economic development. Based on theories of absolute income, permanent income, and the life-cycle hypothesis, this paper constructs panel data models to investigate the effect of public pension participation and benefit level on household consumption. Evidence from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) 2011 and 2013 survey data shows that, compared with those not covered by any public pension program, individuals enrolled in the public pension system tend to consume more within respective income-quantile groups. Moreover, for the retired population, we found lower income groups have a higher marginal propensity to consume than higher income groups. In other words, lower income groups are likely to spend a higher proportion of any increase in pension benefit on consumption than higher income groups. To achieve a virtuous cycle between public pension, household consumption, and economic growth and, thus, a social-economically sustainable development, we suggest that China’s pension system should be extended to cover all in the lowest income group, and the benefit level should be increased gradually to secure a stable expectation for the future and motivate current consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Qing Zhao & Zhen Li & Taichang Chen, 2016. "The Impact of Public Pension on Household Consumption: Evidence from China’s Survey Data," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(9), pages 1-15, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:9:p:890-:d:77356
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Zheng Song & Kjetil Storesletten & Yikai Wang & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2015. "Sharing High Growth across Generations: Pensions and Demographic Transition in China," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 1-39, April.
    2. David Blake, 2004. "The impact of wealth on consumption and retirement behaviour in the UK," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(8), pages 555-576.
    3. Chadwick C. Curtis & Steven Lugauer & Nelson C. Mark, 2015. "Demographic Patterns and Household Saving in China," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 58-94, April.
    4. Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley, 2001. "The Life-Cycle Model of Consumption and Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
    5. 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.
    6. Curtis, Chadwick C. & Lugauer, Steven & Mark, Nelson C., 2017. "Demographics and aggregate household saving in Japan, China, and India," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 175-191.
    7. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-926, Sept./Oct.
    8. Leimer, Dean R & Lesnoy, Selig D, 1982. "Social Security and Private Saving: New Time-Series Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(3), pages 606-629, June.
    9. Feldstein, Martin, 1996. "Social Security and Saving: New Time Series Evidence," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(2), pages 151-64, June.
    10. Barro, Robert J. & MacDonald, Glenn M., 1979. "Social security and consumer spending in an international cross section," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 275-289, June.
    11. Tianhong Chen & John A. Turner, 2015. "Gender and Public Pensions in China: Do Pensions Reduce the Gender Gap in Compensation?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(2), pages 1-15, January.
    12. Feldstein, Martin, 1996. "Social Security and Saving: New Time Series Evidence," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 49(2), pages 151-164, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    public pension system; pension participation; pension benefits; household consumption; socio-economic development; China;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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