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Household Savings and Debts: The Experience of the Nordic Countries


  • Berg, Lennart


The paper discusses the development of savings and household debt in the Nordic countries during the last two decades. The main conclusion is that the timing of political reforms in the 1980s and 1990s was fundamental for the development of consumption and household savings. In general, financial deregulation took place before tax reforms and lifting of foreign exchange controls. The wrong timing of these reforms resulted in households accumulating high debt burdens, which in turn led to a deep and longer recession or process of debt deflation than might otherwise have occurred. Copyright 1994 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Berg, Lennart, 1994. "Household Savings and Debts: The Experience of the Nordic Countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(2), pages 42-53, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:10:y:1994:i:2:p:42-53

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:red:issued:15-259 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Elin Halvorsen, 2003. "Financial Deregulation and Household Saving. The Norwegian Experience Revisited," Discussion Papers 361, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    3. Eerola Essi & Määttänen Niku, 2012. "Borrowing Constraints and House Price Dynamics: The Case of Large Shocks," Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics, De Gruyter, vol. 16(3), pages 1-36, September.
    4. Lennart Berg, 2002. "Prices on the second-hand market for Swedish family houses: correlation, causation and determinants," European Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 2(1), pages 1-24, April.
    5. Lindberg, Sara, 1999. "Consumption and Capital Mobility in the Nordic Countries," Working Paper Series 1999:6, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    6. Agell, Jonas & Englund, Peter & Sodersten, Jan, 1996. "Tax Reform of the Century -- the Swedish Experiment," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(4), pages 643-664, December.
    7. Ersi Athanassiou, 2007. "Prospects for Household Borrowing in Greece and their Importance for Growth," South-Eastern Europe Journal of Economics, Association of Economic Universities of South and Eastern Europe and the Black Sea Region, vol. 5(1), pages 89-101.
    8. Guy Debelle, 2004. "Macroeconomic implications of rising household debt," BIS Working Papers 153, Bank for International Settlements.
    9. Giavazzi, Francesco & Pagano, Marco, 1995. "Non-Keynesian Effects of Fiscal Policy Changes: International Evidence and the Swedish Experience," CEPR Discussion Papers 1284, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Øyvind Eitrheim & Eilev S. Jansen & Ragnar Nymoen, 2002. "Progress from forecast failure -- the Norwegian consumption function," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 5(1), pages 40-64, June.
    11. Hyytinen, Ari & Pajarinen, Mika, 2001. "Financial Systems and Venture Capital in Nordic Countries: A comparative Study," Discussion Papers 774, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    12. Berg, Lennart, 2001. "Prices and Constant Quality Price Indexes for Multi-Dwelling and Commercial Buildings in Sweden," Working Paper Series 2002:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    13. A. Bayar & K. Mc Morrow, 1999. "Determinants of private consumption," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 135, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    14. Solveig Erlandsen & Ragnar Nymoen, 2008. "Consumption and population age structure," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 21(3), pages 505-520, July.
    15. E.P. Davis, 1995. "Financial Fragility in the Early 1990s - What Can Be Learnt from International Experience?," FMG Special Papers sp76, Financial Markets Group.
    16. Ellingsen, Tore & Holden, Steinar, 1997. "Indebtedness and Unemployment: A Durable Relationship," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 186, Stockholm School of Economics.
    17. Barrell, Ray & Pain, Nigel & Hurst, Ian, 1996. "German Monetary Union: An historical counterfactual analysis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 499-518, October.
    18. Aron, Janine & Muellbauer, John & Prinsloo, Johan, 2006. "Estimating the Balance Sheet of the Personal Sector in an Emerging Market Country: South Africa 1975-2003," WIDER Working Paper Series 099, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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