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Personal and Corporate Saving in South Africa

  • Janine Aron
  • John Muellbauer

Low domestic saving rates in South Africa may perpetuate a low-growth trap. The decline in government saving, a major reason for the overall decline in saving, is now being reversed. However, personal saving rates have fallen since 1993, and corporate rates since 1995, and both may decline further with lower real interest rates. It is important to understand both personal and corporate saving behavior in order to formulate policies to raise the domestic saving rate in line with the needs of economic growth. This article summarizes previous work on the household sector, emphasizing the role of financial liberalization, assets, and income expectations, and explains sectoral links and policy implications. Further, it analyzes South Africa's corporate saving rate in detail. Models are developed both for the share of profits in national income, including the roles of the terms of trade, tax effects, and the price to unit labor cost ratio, and for the share of corporate saving in profits, which is found to depend on inflation, the real interest rate, dividend taxation, and financial liberalization. Corporate saving is remarkably under-researched, given its importance in many economies. This research thus puts the saving and growth concerns of Kaldor into a modern empirical context. Copyright The Author 2000. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / the world bank . All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 14 (2000)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 509-544

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbecrv:v:14:y:2000:i:3:p:509-544
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  2. Hall, Robert E, 1978. "Stochastic Implications of the Life Cycle-Permanent Income Hypothesis: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 971-87, December.
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  8. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
  9. Tullio Jappelli & Marco Pagano, 1994. "Saving, Growth, and Liquidity Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 83-109.
  10. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Consumption, Income and Interest Rates: Reinterpreting the Time Series Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 185-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Engle, Robert & Granger, Clive, 2015. "Co-integration and error correction: Representation, estimation, and testing," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 39(3), pages 106-135.
  12. Banerjee, Anindya & Dolado, Juan J. & Galbraith, John W. & Hendry, David, 1993. "Co-integration, Error Correction, and the Econometric Analysis of Non-Stationary Data," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288107, December.
  13. Oriana Bandiera & Gerard Caprio Jr. & Patrick Honohan & Fabio Schiantarelli, 1998. "Does Financial Reform Raise or Reduce Savings?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 413, Boston College Department of Economics.
  14. Patterson, K. D., 1984. "Net liquid assets and net illiquid assets in the consumption function : Some evidence for the United Kingdom," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 389-395.
  15. Campbell, John Y. & Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1991. "The response of consumption to income : A cross-country investigation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 723-756, May.
  16. Aron, Janine & Muellbauer, John, 2004. "Estimates of Personal Sector Wealth for South Africa," CEPR Discussion Papers 4646, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Roger H. Gordon & Joel Slemrod, 1998. "Are "Real" Responses to Taxes Simply Income Shifting Between Corporate and Personal Tax Bases?," NBER Working Papers 6576, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. David, Paul A & Scadding, John L, 1974. "Private Savings: Ultrarationality, Aggregation, and "Denison's Law."," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages 225-49, Part I, M.
  19. Hall, Robert E & Mishkin, Frederic S, 1982. "The Sensitivity of Consumption to Transitory Income: Estimates from Panel Data on Households," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 461-81, March.
  20. Geeta G. Kingdon & John B. Knight, 2000. "Are searching and non-searching unemployment distinct states when unemployment is high? The case of South Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2000-02, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  21. Davidson, James E H, et al, 1978. "Econometric Modelling of the Aggregate Time-Series Relationship between Consumers' Expenditure and Income in the United Kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 88(352), pages 661-92, December.
  22. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan S. Skinner, 1996. "Assessing the Effectiveness of Saving Incentives," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 53540, September.
  23. M. S. Feldstein, 1970. "Corporate Taxation and Dividend Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(1), pages 57-72.
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  26. Steve Bond & Lucy Chennells & Michael Devereux, 1995. "Company dividends and taxes in the UK," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 16(3), pages 1-18, August.
  27. Janine Aron & John Muellbauer, 2000. "Financial Liberalization, Consumption and Debt in South Africa," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2000-22, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
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