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The Decline in Private Saving Rates in the 1990s in OECD Countries: How Much Can Be Explained by Non-wealth Determinants?


  • Florian Pelgrin
  • Alain de Serres


The substantial decline in private-sector saving rates observed in several OECD countries in the late 1990s coincided in several cases with a sharp increase in household financial net worth. This was seen by many observers as evidence that the strong rise in equity and residential property prices during the late 1990s had been treated by households as a permanent increase in wealth, leading to an unsustainable drop in saving and raising fears of an eventual negative wealth effect. Applying estimation techniques for systems of dynamic panel equations, this paper looks at basic determinants of private saving for a sample of 15 OECD countries and finds that the sharp decline in saving observed after 1995 can be largely explained, even in a post-sample fashion, by fundamentals other than financial wealth. Among the determinants, the rise in public-sector saving is found to have contributed the most to the decline in private saving between 1995 and 2000. Based on this investigation, there is little evidence that consumers had gone too far in responding to the stock market boom of the late 1990s, even in countries where private saving rates have fallen to historically low levels. On the other hand, the results suggest that a loosening of fiscal policy may have a limited stimulatory impact on private consumption...

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  • Florian Pelgrin & Alain de Serres, 2003. "The Decline in Private Saving Rates in the 1990s in OECD Countries: How Much Can Be Explained by Non-wealth Determinants?," OECD Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2003(1), pages 117-153.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecokaa:5lmqcr2jgw47

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. M. Castro Campos & C. Kool & J. Muysken, 2013. "Cross-Country Private Saving Heterogeneity and Culture," De Economist, Springer, vol. 161(2), pages 101-120, June.
    2. repec:dau:papers:123456789/2343 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Andreas Freytag & Sebastian Voll, 2013. "Institutions and savings in developing and emerging economies," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(3), pages 475-509, December.
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    6. Ken Chamuva Shawa, 2016. "Drivers Of Private Saving In Sub-Saharan African Countries," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 41(2), pages 77-110, June.
    7. Brittle, Shane, 2009. "Ricardian Equivalence and the Efficacy of Fiscal Policy in Australia," Economics Working Papers wp09-10, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.
    8. repec:mes:emfitr:v:53:y:2017:i:11:p:2585-2608 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Volker Meinhardt & Katja Rietzler & Rudolf Zwiener, 2009. "Konjunktur und Rentenversicherung - gegenseitige Abhängigkeiten und mögliche Veränderungen durch diskretionäre Maßnahmen," IMK Studies 03-2009, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
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    13. Clovis Kerdrain & Isabell Koske & Isabelle Wanner, 2010. "The Impact of Structural Policies on Saving, Investment and Current Accounts," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 815, OECD Publishing.
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    18. Maria Belén Zinni, 2013. "Identifying Drivers for the Accumulation of Household Financial Wealth," CEIS Research Paper 264, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 13 Feb 2013.
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    20. Riccardo De Bonis & Daniele Fano & Teresa Sbano, 2013. "Houshold Aggregate Wealth In The Main OECD Countries From 1980 To 2011: What Do The Data Tell Us?," Mo.Fi.R. Working Papers 82, Money and Finance Research group (Mo.Fi.R.) - Univ. Politecnica Marche - Dept. Economic and Social Sciences.
    21. Jorgensen, Ole Hagen, 2011. "Macroeconomic and policy implications of population aging in Brazil," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5519, The World Bank.
    22. Martha A. Starr, 2006. "Macroeconomic dimensions of social economics: Saving, the stock market, and pension systems," Working Papers 2006-09, American University, Department of Economics.
    23. Francesco Grigoli & Alexander Herman & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, 2014. "World Saving," IMF Working Papers 14/204, International Monetary Fund.
    24. Bruno Ducoudre, 2008. "Structure par terme des taux d’intérêt et anticipations de la politique économique," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/5221, Sciences Po.
    25. Ignacio Hernando & Irene Pablos & Daniel Santabárbara & Javier Vallés, 2018. "Private saving. New cross-country evidencebased on bayesian techniques," Working Papers 1802, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household


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