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Did Japanese consumers become more prudent during 1998-1999? Evidence from household-level data

  • Masahiro Hori
  • Satoshi Shimizutani

This paper explores empirically whether Japanese consumers became more prudent in the second half of the 1990s, a decade in which Japan registered historically low economic growth. Employing the methodology developed by Dynan (1993), this study uses micro-level data from the Family Savings Survey and the Family Income and Expenditure Survey to estimate the coefficient of prudence for Japanese households in the second half of the 1990s. The estimates reveal that the coefficient of prudence is positive and statistically significant in the 1998-1999 period. The obtained value for the coefficient of prudence is four, which is much higher than that estimated for US households (not significantly different from zero) or UK households (around 2). The estimated coefficient for young households is higher still, which is consistent with simulation studies conducted by Gourinchas & Parker (2002) showing that precaution is the most important saving motive for younger households.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal International Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 20 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 197-209

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Handle: RePEc:taf:intecj:v:20:y:2006:i:2:p:197-209
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  1. Orazio P. Attanasio & Hamish Low, 2004. "Estimating Euler Equations," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(2), pages 405-435, April.
  2. Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "The Buffer-Stock Theory of Saving: Some Macroeconomic Evidence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 61-156.
  3. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1992. "Earnings Uncertainty and Precautionary Saving," CEPR Discussion Papers 699, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 7271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Horioka, Charles Yuji & Watanabe, Wako, 1997. "Why Do People Save? A Micro-Analysis of Motives for Household Saving in Japan," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(442), pages 537-52, May.
  6. Dynan, Karen E, 1993. "How Prudent Are Consumers?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 1104-13, December.
  7. Christopher D. Carroll, 1996. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 5788, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. C. Y. Horioka & H. Fujisaki & W. Watanabe & T. Kouno, 2000. "Are Americans More Altruistic than the Japanese? A U.S.-Japan Comparison of Saving and Bequest Motives," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 1-31.
  9. Karen E. Dynan, 1993. "How prudent are consumers?," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 135, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. Merrigan, Philip & Normandin, Michel, 1996. "Precautionary Saving Motives: An Assessment from UK Time Series of Cross-Sections," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1193-1208, September.
  11. Miles S. Kimball, 1989. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," NBER Working Papers 2848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Dreze, Jacques H. & Modigliani, Franco, 1972. "Consumption decisions under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 308-335, December.
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