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Top Incomes and National Savings

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  • 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
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Tuomas, Malinen, 2011. "Inequality and savings: a reassesment of the relationship in cointegrated panels," MPRA Paper 33350, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. 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).
    10. Santo Milasi, 2014. "Top Income Shares and Budget Deficits," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, issue 1, pages 383-406, January-M.
    11. 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, February.
    12. Bofinger, Peter & Scheuermeyer, Philipp, 2016. "Income Distribution and Aggregate Saving: A Non-Monotonic Relationship," CEPR Discussion Papers 11435, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. 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.
    14. Behringer, Jan & van Treeck, Till, 2018. "Income distribution and the current account," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 238-254.
    15. 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.
    16. 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).
    17. 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.
    18. 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).
    19. 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.
    20. 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.
    21. 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.

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    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

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