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Policy Uncertainty and Household Savings

Author

Listed:
  • Francesco Giavazzi

    (IGIER (Universitá Bocconi), MIT, CEPR, and NBER)

  • Michael McMahon

    (University of Warwick, and Centre for Economic Performance (LSE))

Abstract

Using German microdata and a quasi-natural experiment, we provide evidence on how households respond to an increase in uncertainty. We find that household saving increases significantly following the increase in political uncertainty observed in the run-up to the 1998 German general election. We also find evidence of a labor supply response by workers who can use the margin offered by part-time employment. Our results are suggestive of the economic effects of “wars of attrition”: when political disagreement leads to delays in adopting a reform or the possibility that earlier reforms may be revoked, the increased uncertainty could slow the economy. © 2012 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Giavazzi & Michael McMahon, 2012. "Policy Uncertainty and Household Savings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(2), pages 517-531, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:94:y:2012:i:2:p:517-531
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ashoka Mody & Franziska Ohnsorge & Damiano Sandri, 2012. "Precautionary Savings in the Great Recession," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 60(1), pages 114-138, April.
    2. Klemm, Marcus, 2012. "Job Security and Fertility: Evidence from German Reunification," Ruhr Economic Papers 379, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    3. International Monetary Fund, 2016. "United Kingdom; Selected Issues," IMF Staff Country Reports 16/169, International Monetary Fund.
    4. Aaberge, Rolf & Liu, Kai & Zhu, Yu, 2017. "Political uncertainty and household savings," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 154-170.
    5. Scott R. Baker & Nicholas Bloom & Steven J. Davis, 2016. "Measuring Economic Policy Uncertainty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(4), pages 1593-1636.
    6. Brodeur, Abel, 2015. "Terrorism and Employment: Evidence from Successful and Failed Terror Attacks," IZA Discussion Papers 9526, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Arni, Patrick & Liu, Xingfei, 2016. "On or Off – Are Treatment Effects of Policy Changes Symmetric? Evidence from Unemployment Insurance Reform with Incomplete Information," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145519, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    8. Dragouni, Mina & Filis, George & Gavriilidis, Konstantinos & Santamaria, Daniel, 2016. "Sentiment, mood and outbound tourism demand," Annals of Tourism Research, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 80-96.
    9. Elif C. Arbatli & Steven J. Davis & Arata Ito & Naoko Miake & Ikuo Saito, 2017. "Policy Uncertainty In Japan," NBER Working Papers 23411, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Gábor-Tóth, Enikő & Georgarakos, Dimitris, 2018. "Economic policy uncertainty and stock market participation," CFS Working Paper Series 590, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    11. Aida Caldera Sánchez & Alain de Serres & Naomitsu Yashiro, 2016. "Reforming in a difficult macroeconomic context: A review of the issues and recent literature," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1297, OECD Publishing.
    12. Steven J. Davis, 2016. "An Index of Global Economic Policy Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 22740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. MORIKAWA Masayuki, 2017. "Impact of Policy Uncertainty on Consumption and Saving Behavior: Evidence from a survey on consumers," Discussion papers 17075, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    14. Klemm, Marcus, 2012. "Job Security Perceptions and the Saving Behavior of German Households," Ruhr Economic Papers 380, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    15. Erzo F.P. Luttmer & Andrew A. Samwick, 2015. "The Welfare Cost of Perceived Policy Uncertainty: Evidence from Social Security," NBER Working Papers 21818, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    household savings; policy uncertainty; labour supply; wars of attrition;

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E65 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Studies of Particular Policy Episodes

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