IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/auu/dpaper/588.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Top Incomes and National Savings

Author

Listed:
  • Andrew Leigh
  • Alberto Posso

Abstract

The relationship between income inequality and national savings is theoretically ambiguous, and past empirical studies have delivered mixed results. We revisit the question using a newly available source of data on inequality: the income share of the richest 10 percent and the richest 1 percent. Combining this with historical data on national savings rates, we are able to investigate the relationship for eleven developed countries over the period 1921-2002. We find no consistent relationship between lagged top income shares and current savings rates, and our standard errors are small enough that we are able to reject more than modest effects in either direction. We view this as suggesting that inequality at the top end of the distribution is not a major driver of national savings rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Leigh & Alberto Posso, 2008. "Top Incomes and National Savings," CEPR Discussion Papers 588, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:588
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/CEPR/DP588.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
    2. Barro, Robert J, 1989. "The Ricardian Approach to Budget Deficits," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 37-54, Spring.
    3. David Bunting, 1991. "Savings and the Distribution of Income," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(1), pages 3-22, September.
    4. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Income distribution, political instability, and investment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1203-1228, June.
    5. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
    6. repec:dau:papers:123456789/10091 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Anthony B. Atkinson & Andrew Leigh, 2007. "The Distribution of Top Incomes in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 83(262), pages 247-261, September.
    8. Milton Friedman, 1957. "Introduction to "A Theory of the Consumption Function"," NBER Chapters, in: A Theory of the Consumption Function, pages 1-6, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Landis MacKellar & Helmut Reisen, 1998. "A Simulation Model of Global Pension Investment," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 137, OECD Publishing.
    10. Andrew Leigh, 2007. "How Closely Do Top Income Shares Track Other Measures of Inequality?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(524), pages 619-633, November.
    11. Gustman, Alan L. & Steinmeier, Thomas L., 1999. "Effects of pensions on savings: analysis with data from the health and retirement study," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 271-324, June.
    12. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1.
    13. Cecilia Garcia-Penalosa & Eve Caroli & Philippe Aghion, 1999. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1615-1660, December.
    14. Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus & Serven, Luis, 2000. "Does income inequality raise aggregate saving?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 417-446, April.
    15. Jeannine Bailliu & Helmut Reisen, 1998. "Do funded pensions contribute to higher aggregate savings? A cross-country analysis," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 134(4), pages 692-711, December.
    16. Alvaredo, Facundo & Saez, Emmanuel, 2006. "Income and Wealth Concentration in Spain in a Historical and Fiscal Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 5836, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244.
    18. Axel Dreher & Noel Gaston, 2008. "Has Globalization Increased Inequality?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(3), pages 516-536, August.
    19. Karen E. Dynan & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2004. "Do the Rich Save More?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 397-444, April.
    20. Seiritsu Ogura & Toshiaki Tachibanaki & David A. Wise, 2001. "Aging Issues in the United States and Japan," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ogur01-1.
    21. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    22. Edwards, Sebastian, 1996. "Why are Latin America's savings rates so low? An international comparative analysis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 5-44, October.
    23. Andrea Brandolini & Anthony B. Atkinson, 2001. "Promise and Pitfalls in the Use of "Secondary" Data-Sets: Income Inequality in OECD Countries As a Case Study," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 771-799, September.
    24. Taylor, Alan M., 2002. "A century of current account dynamics," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 725-748, November.
    25. Anthony Atkinson & Thomas Piketty, 2007. "Top incomes over the twentieth century: A contrast between continental european and english-speaking countries," Post-Print halshs-00754859, HAL.
    26. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2001. "Choice, Chance, and Wealth Dispersion at Retirement," NBER Chapters, in: Aging Issues in the United States and Japan, pages 25-64, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    27. Mr. Tim Callen & Mr. Christian Thimann, 1997. "Empirical Determinants of Household Saving: Evidence From OECD Countries," IMF Working Papers 1997/181, International Monetary Fund.
    28. Emmanuel Saez & Michael R. Veall, 2005. "The Evolution of High Incomes in Northern America: Lessons from Canadian Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 831-849, June.
    29. Atkinson, A. B. & Piketty, Thomas (ed.), 2007. "Top Incomes Over the Twentieth Century: A Contrast Between Continental European and English-Speaking Countries," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286881.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Francisco Alvarez‐Cuadrado & Mayssun El‐Attar Vilalta, 2018. "Income Inequality and Saving," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 80(6), pages 1029-1061, December.
    2. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
    3. Rémi Bazillier & Jérôme Hericourt, 2017. "The Circular Relationship Between Inequality, Leverage, And Financial Crises," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(2), pages 463-496, April.
    4. Xinhua Gu & Bihong Huang & Pui Sun Tam & Yang Zhang, 2015. "Inequality and Saving: Further Evidence from Integrated Economies," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(1), pages 15-30, February.
    5. Jan Behringer & Till van Treeck, 2013. "Income distribution and current account: A sectoral perspective," IMK Working Paper 125-2013, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    6. Busl, Claudia & Iliewa, Zwetelina & Jokisch, Sabine & Kappler, Marcus & Roscher, Thomas & Schindler, Felix & Schleer, Frauke, 2012. "Endbericht an das Bundesministerium der Finanzen zum Forschungsauftrag fe 11/11: "Sparen und Investieren vor dem Hintergrund des demografischen Wandels"," ZEW Expertises, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research, number 110554.
    7. Bofinger, Peter & Scheuermeyer, Philipp, 2016. "Income Distribution and Aggregate Saving: A Non-Monotonic Relationship," CEPR Discussion Papers 11435, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Christian A Belabed & Thomas Theobald & Till van Treeck, 2018. "Income distribution and current account imbalances [Notes on capacity utilisation, distribution and accumulation]," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(1), pages 47-94.
    9. Andrews Dan & Jencks Christopher & Leigh Andrew, 2011. "Do Rising Top Incomes Lift All Boats?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-45, January.
    10. Santo Milasi, 2014. "Top Income Shares and Budget Deficits," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, issue 1, pages 383-406, January-M.
    11. Hajamini, Mehdi, 2020. "Analyzing the Causal Relationships between Economic Growth, Income Inequality, and Transmission Channels: New Empirical Evidences from Iran," Journal of Money and Economy, Monetary and Banking Research Institute, Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran, vol. 15(3), pages 313-342, July.
    12. Behringer, Jan & van Treeck, Till, 2018. "Income distribution and the current account," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 238-254.
    13. Roine, Jesper & Vlachos, Jonas & Waldenström, Daniel, 2009. "The long-run determinants of inequality: What can we learn from top income data?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 974-988, August.
    14. Himanshu, 2019. "Inequality in India: A review of levels and trends," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2019-42, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    15. Tuominen Elina, 2016. "Changes or levels? Reassessment of the relationship between top-end inequality and growth," Working Papers 1609, Tampere University, School of Management and Business, Economics.
    16. Peter Bofinger & Philipp Scheuermeyer, 2019. "Income Distribution and Aggregate Saving: A Non‐Monotonic Relationship," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 65(4), pages 872-907, December.
    17. Tuomas, Malinen, 2011. "Inequality and savings: a reassesment of the relationship in cointegrated panels," MPRA Paper 33350, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Schulz, Jan & Mayerhoffer, Daniel M., 2021. "A network approach to consumption," BERG Working Paper Series 173, Bamberg University, Bamberg Economic Research Group.
    19. Peter Lanjouw & Hai-Anh Dang, 2018. "Inequality trends and dynamics in India: The bird’s-eye and the granular perspectives," WIDER Working Paper Series 189, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    20. Tuomas Malinen, 2011. "Income Inequality and Savings: A Reassessment of the Relationship in Cointegrated Panels," DEGIT Conference Papers c016_076, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    21. Hai?Anh H. Dang & Peter Lanjouw, 2018. "Inequality trends and dynamics in India: The bird's-eye and the granular perspectives," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2018-189, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    22. Rémi Bazillier & Jérôme Hericourt, 2017. "The Circular Relationship Between Inequality, Leverage, And Financial Crises," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(2), pages 463-496, April.
    23. Scheuermeyer, Philipp & Bofinger, Peter, 2016. "Income Distribution and Household Saving: A Non-Monotonic Relationship," VfS Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145901, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Andrews Dan & Jencks Christopher & Leigh Andrew, 2011. "Do Rising Top Incomes Lift All Boats?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-45, January.
    2. Jan Behringer & Till van Treeck, 2013. "Income distribution and current account: A sectoral perspective," IMK Working Paper 125-2013, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    3. Tuomas, Malinen, 2011. "Inequality and savings: a reassesment of the relationship in cointegrated panels," MPRA Paper 33350, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Francisco Alvarez‐Cuadrado & Mayssun El‐Attar Vilalta, 2018. "Income Inequality and Saving," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 80(6), pages 1029-1061, December.
    5. Salvatore Morelli & Timothy Smeeding & Jeffrey Thompson, 2014. "Post-1970 Trends in Within-Country Inequality and Poverty: Rich and Middle Income Countries," CSEF Working Papers 356, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    6. Tuomas Malinen, 2011. "Income Inequality and Savings: A Reassessment of the Relationship in Cointegrated Panels," DEGIT Conference Papers c016_076, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    7. Grossmann, Volker, 2008. "Risky human capital investment, income distribution, and macroeconomic dynamics," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 19-42, March.
    8. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
    9. Norman Loayza & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Luis Servén, 2001. "Una Revisión del COmportamiento y de los determinantes del ahorro en el mundo," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series, in: Felipe Morandé & Rodrigo Vergara & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series Edit (ed.),Análisis Empírico del Ahorro en Chile, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 13-48, Central Bank of Chile.
    10. Grigoli, Francesco & Herman, Alexander & Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus, 2018. "Saving in the world," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 257-270.
    11. Richard Burkhauser & Shuaizhang Feng & Stephen Jenkins & Jeff Larrimore, 2011. "Estimating trends in US income inequality using the Current Population Survey: the importance of controlling for censoring," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 9(3), pages 393-415, September.
    12. Richard Burkhauser & Shuaizhang Feng & Stephen Jenkins & Jeff Larrimore, 2009. "Recent Trends in Top Income Shares in the USA: Reconciling Estimates from March CPS and IRS Tax Return Data," Working Papers 09-26, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    13. Christian A Belabed & Thomas Theobald & Till van Treeck, 2018. "Income distribution and current account imbalances [Notes on capacity utilisation, distribution and accumulation]," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(1), pages 47-94.
    14. Antoine BozioBy & Carl Emmerson & Cormac O’Dea & Gemma Tetlow, 2017. "Do the rich save more? Evidence from linked survey and administrative data," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 1101-1119.
    15. Brunila, Anne, 1996. "Fiscal policy and private consumption : Saving decisions : Evidence from Finland," Research Discussion Papers 28/1996, Bank of Finland.
    16. El Mekkaoui de Freitas, Najat & Oliveira Martins, Joaquim, 2014. "Health, pension benefits and longevity: How they affect household savings?," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 3(C), pages 21-28.
    17. Bertrand Garbinti & Pierre Lamarche, 2014. "Les hauts revenus épargnent‑ils davantage ?," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 472(1), pages 49-64.
    18. Facundo Alvaredo, 2007. "The Rich in Argentina over the twentieth century: From the Conservative Republic to the Peronist experience and beyond 1932-2004," Working Papers halshs-00588318, HAL.
    19. Céline Antonin, 2009. "Age, revenu et comportements d'épargne des ménages : une analyse théorique et empirique sur la période 1978-2006," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/5l6uh8ogmqi, Sciences Po.
    20. Andrew Leigh, 2007. "How Closely Do Top Income Shares Track Other Measures of Inequality?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(524), pages 619-633, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    national savings; inequality; top incomes; panel data;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:588. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cpanuau.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cpanuau.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.