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Households' savings in China

  • Riccardo Cristadoro

    ()

    (Bank of Italy)

  • Daniela Marconi

    ()

    (Bank of Italy)

This paper studies the determinants of Chinese households� saving. Domestic saving in China is the highest in the world in terms of GDP and it is mirrored in a large and persistent current account surplus. First, we show that notwithstanding the rising contribution of government and firms to national savings, they stand out because of households� behaviour. Our econometric analysis proceeds from the work of Modigliani and Cao (2004) that explained rising personal saving in China within the life-cycle hypothesis. We prove that their explanation is insufficient. Then, using panel data and exploiting differences among provinces and between urban and rural households, we show that there is a significant dissimilarity in savings decisions in urban and rural areas and that motives other than those envisaged in the life-cycle model might play a major role, above all precautionary savings and liquidity constraints. Our results suggest that to reduce the propensity to save of Chinese households it is necessary to improve the provision of social services and to facilitate access to credit.

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Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 838.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_838_11
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  1. Norman Loayza & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Luis Servén, 1999. "What Drives Private Saving Across the World?," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 47, Central Bank of Chile.
  2. Marcos d Chamon & Eswar S Prasad, 2008. "Why are Saving Rates of Urban Households in China Rising?," IMF Working Papers 08/145, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "The Competitive Saving Motive: Evidence from Rising Sex Ratios and Savings Rates in China," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(3), pages 511-564.
  4. Obstfeld, Maurice & Rogoff, Kenneth, 2009. "Global imbalances and the financial crisis: products of common causes," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Oct, pages 131-172.
  5. Charles Yuji Horioka & Junmin Wan, 2006. "The Determinants of Household Saving in China: A Dynamic Panel Analysis of Provincial Data," ISER Discussion Paper 0676, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University, revised Sep 2007.
  6. Fumio Hayashi, 1986. "Why Is Japan's Saving Rate So Apparently High?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1986, Volume 1, pages 147-234 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1996. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Discussion Papers 96-01, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  8. Yin Zhang & Guang Hua Wan, 2004. "Liquidity constraint, uncertainty and household consumption in China," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(19), pages 2221-2229.
  9. Fumio Hayashi, 1989. "Japan's Saving Rate: New Data and Reflections," NBER Working Papers 3205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jody Overland & Christopher D. Carroll & David N. Weil, 2000. "Saving and Growth with Habit Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 341-355, June.
  11. Feng, Jin & He, Lixin & Sato, Hiroshi, 2011. "Public pension and household saving: Evidence from urban China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 470-485.
  12. Zhang, Wenlang & Zhang, Zhiwei & Han, Gaofeng, 2010. "How does the US credit crisis affect the Asia-Pacific economies?--Analysis based on a general equilibrium model," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 280-292, June.
  13. Steven A Barnett & Ray Brooks, 2010. "China; Does Government Health and Education Spending Boost Consumption?," IMF Working Papers 10/16, International Monetary Fund.
  14. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 2000. "Growth and Saving Among Individuals and Households," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 212-225, May.
  15. Franco Modigliani & Shi Larry Cao, 2004. "The Chinese Saving Puzzle and the Life-Cycle Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(1), pages 145-170, March.
  16. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244, December.
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