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Precautionary Savings and Self-Selection: Evidence from the German Reunification "Experiment" Abstract: We combine particular features of the German civil service with the unique event of German reunification to test the theory of precautionary savings and to quantify the importance of self-selection into occupations due to differences in risk aversion. In the presence of self-selection, failing to control for risk aversion in empirical tests of precautionary savings results in a bias that could lead to a systematic underestimation of the importance of precautionary savings. We exploit the fact that for individuals from the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) German reunification in 1990 caused an exogenous reassignment of income risks. Our findings suggest that self-selection of risk-averse individuals into low-risk occupations is economically important and decreases aggregate precautionary wealth holdings significantly

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  • Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln
  • Matthias Schündeln

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  • Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln & Matthias Schündeln, 2005. "Precautionary Savings and Self-Selection: Evidence from the German Reunification "Experiment" Abstract: We combine particular features of the German civil service with the unique event of Ge," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1085-1120.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:120:y:2005:i:3:p:1085-1120.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/qje/120.3.1085
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    Cited by:

    1. Marcel Prokopczuk & Francesco D'Acunto & Michael Weber, 2015. "Distrust in Finance Lingers: Jewish Persecution and Households' Investments," 2015 Meeting Papers 26, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Bartzsch Nikolaus, 2008. "Precautionary Saving and Income Uncertainty in Germany – New Evidence from Microdata," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 228(1), pages 5-24, February.
    3. Christoph Basten & Andreas Fagereng & Kjetil Telle, 2016. "Saving and Portfolio Allocation Before and After Job Loss," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 48(2-3), pages 293-324, March.
    4. Bert G.M. Van Landeghem, 2008. "Human Well-Being over the Life Cycle: Longitudinal Evidence from a 20-Year Panel," LICOS Discussion Papers 21308, LICOS - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance, KU Leuven.
    5. Boenisch, Peter & Schneider, Lutz, 2013. "The social capital legacy of communism-results from the Berlin Wall experiment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 391-411.
    6. Haan, Peter & Prowse, Victoria, 2014. "Longevity, life-cycle behavior and pension reform," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 178(P3), pages 582-601.
    7. Claudia R. Sahm, 2007. "Stability of risk preference," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-66, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. Marcos D. Chamon & Eswar S. Prasad, 2010. "Why Are Saving Rates of Urban Households in China Rising?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 93-130, January.
    9. Nicolas Sauter & Jan Walliser & Joachim Winter, 2010. "Tax Incentives, Bequest Motives, and the Demand for Life Insurance: Evidence from two Natural Experiments in Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 3040, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Christiansen, Charlotte & Joensen, Juanna Schroter & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 2007. "The risk-return trade-off in human capital investment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(6), pages 971-986, December.
    11. Erik Hurst & Arthur Kennickell & Annamaria Lusardi & Francisco Torralba, 2005. "Precautionary Savings and the Importance of Business Owners," NBER Working Papers 11731, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Freier, Ronny & Geys, Benny & Holm, Joshua, 2016. "Religious heterogeneity and fiscal policy: Evidence from German reunification," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 1-12.
    13. Kohn, Karsten & Antonczyk, Dirk, 2011. "The Aftermath of Reunification: Sectoral Transition, Gender, and Rising Wage Inequality in East Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 5708, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Luc Arrondel & Hector Calvo Pardo, 2008. "Les Français sont-ils prudents ? Patrimoine et risque sur les revenus des ménages," PSE Working Papers halshs-00585994, HAL.
    15. Daniel Kemptner, 2013. "Health-Related Life Cycle Risks and Public Insurance," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 583, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    16. Schunk Daniel, 2009. "What Determines Household Saving Behavior: An Examination of Saving Motives and Saving Decisions 06.01.2009," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 229(4), pages 467-491, August.

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