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Households' savings in China

Author

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  • Riccardo Cristadoro

    () (Bank of Italy)

  • Daniela Marconi

    () (Bank of Italy)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Riccardo Cristadoro & Daniela Marconi, 2011. "Households' savings in China," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 838, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_838_11
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1996. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 1797-1855.
    3. 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.
    4. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244.
    5. 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.
    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. 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.
    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. Charles Yuji Horioka & Junmin Wan, 2007. "The Determinants of Household Saving in China: A Dynamic Panel Analysis of Provincial Data," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(8), pages 2077-2096, December.
    10. 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.
    11. Marcos D. Chamon & Eswar S. Prasad, 2010. "Why Are Saving Rates of Urban Households in China Rising?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 93-130, January.
    12. Fumio Hayashi, 1989. "Japan's Saving Rate: New Data and Reflections," NBER Working Papers 3205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. 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.
    14. Steven A Barnett & Ray Brooks, 2010. "China; Does Government Health and Education Spending Boost Consumption?," IMF Working Papers 10/16, International Monetary Fund.
    15. Norman Loayza & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Luis Servén, 2000. "What Drives Private Saving Across the World?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 165-181.
    16. 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.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Understanding Chinese household savings
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-02-16 20:53:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniela Marconi & Lorenzo Bencivelli & Anna Marra & Alessandro Schiavone & Raffaele Tartaglia-Polcini, 2016. "Offshore RMB markets in Europe: prospects for greater financial integration between Europe and China," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 334, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. Christian Dreger & Tongsan Wang & Yanqun Zhang, 2015. "Understanding Chinese Consumption: The Impact of Hukou," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 46(6), pages 1331-1344, November.
    3. Enrica Di Stefano & Daniela Marconi, 2015. "Assessing potential growth in emerging countries after the global financial crisis," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 256, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    China; saving rate; precautionary savings;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure

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