IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/crr/crrwps/wp2008-21.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Response of Household Saving to the Large Shock of German Reunification

Author

Listed:
  • Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln

Abstract

German reunification was a large, unexpected shock for East Germans, with different economic consequences for different birth cohorts. Exploiting German reunification as a natural experiment, I analyze the validity of the life-cycle consumption model. In the empirical part, I derive three stylized features concerning the saving behavior of East vs. West Germans in the 1990s: (i) East Germans have higher saving rates than West Germans after reunification, (ii) this East-West gap in saving rates is increasing in the age of the birth cohort, and (iii) for every cohort, this gap is declining over time. The theoretical part investigates whether a comprehensive life cycle model can predict these three features. I find strong evidence in favor of rational, forward looking saving behavior. The precautionary saving motive is essential in replicating the features from the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln, 2008. "The Response of Household Saving to the Large Shock of German Reunification," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2008-21, Center for Retirement Research, revised Dec 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:crr:crrwps:wp2008-21
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://crr.bc.edu/working-papers/the-response-of-household-saving-to-the-large-shock-of-german-reunification/
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Borsch-Supan, Axel & Reil-Held, Anette & Rodepeter, Ralf & Schnabel, Reinhold & Winter, Joachim, 2001. "The German Savings Puzzle," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 15-38, March.
    2. Biewen, Martin, 2000. "Income Inequality in Germany during the 1980s and 1990s," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(1), pages 1-19, March.
    3. Martin Browning & M. Dolores Collado, 2001. "The Response of Expenditures to Anticipated Income Changes: Panel Data Estimates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 681-692, June.
    4. Nicholas S. Souleles & Jonathan A. Parker & David S. Johnson, 2006. "Household Expenditure and the Income Tax Rebates of 2001," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1589-1610, December.
    5. Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "The Buffer-Stock Theory of Saving: Some Macroeconomic Evidence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 61-156.
    6. Bonin, Holger & Euwals, Rob, 2001. "Participation Behavior of East German Women after German Unification," IZA Discussion Papers 413, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley, 2001. "The Life-Cycle Model of Consumption and Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
    8. Shapiro, Matthew D & Slemrod, Joel, 1995. "Consumer Response to the Timing of Income: Evidence from a Change in Tax Withholding," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 274-283, March.
    9. Merz, Joachim & Faik, Jürgen, 1994. "Equivalence Scales Based on Revealed Preference Consumption Expenditure Microdata - The Case of West Germany," MPRA Paper 16297, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Thurow, Lester C, 1969. "The Optimum Lifetime Distribution of Consumption Expenditures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(3), pages 324-330, June.
    11. Attanasio, Orazio P, et al, 1999. "Humps and Bumps in Lifetime Consumption," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 17(1), pages 22-35, January.
    12. Carroll, Christopher D. & Weil, David N., 1994. "Saving and growth: a reinterpretation," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 133-192, June.
    13. David B. Gross & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2002. "Do Liquidity Constraints and Interest Rates Matter for Consumer Behavior? Evidence from Credit Card Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(1), pages 149-185.
    14. Sinn, Gerlinde & Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1992. "Kaltstart. Volkswirtschaftliche Aspekte der Deutschen Vereinigung," Monograph, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, edition 2, number urn:isbn:9783161459429.
    15. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 2002. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 47-89, January.
    16. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 2002. "Germany's Economic Unification: An Assessment after Ten Years," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 113-128, February.
    17. Parker, J.A., 1997. "The Reaction of Household Consumption to Predictable Changes in Payroll Tax Rates," Working papers 9724, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    18. Souleles, Nicholas S., 2000. "College tuition and household savings and consumption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 185-207, August.
    19. Carroll, Christopher D. & Samwick, Andrew A., 1997. "The nature of precautionary wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 41-71, September.
    20. Nicholas S. Souleles, 1999. "The Response of Household Consumption to Income Tax Refunds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 947-958, September.
    21. Souleles, Nicholas S., 2002. "Consumer response to the Reagan tax cuts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 99-120, July.
    22. Ralf A. Wilke, 2006. "Semi-parametric estimation of consumption-based equivalence scales: the case of Germany," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(6), pages 781-802.
    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. Corneo, Giacomo & Keese, Matthias & Schröder, Carsten, 2010. "The effect of saving subsidies on household saving: Evidence from Germany," Discussion Papers 2010/3, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    2. Haan, Peter & Prowse, Victoria, 2014. "Longevity, life-cycle behavior and pension reform," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 178(P3), pages 582-601.
    3. Xuan Liu & Zhiwei Cui, 2011. "Approximation Errors of Perturbation Methods in Solving a Class of Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium Models," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 38(2), pages 107-128, August.
    4. 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.
    5. Bartzsch Nikolaus, 2008. "Precautionary Saving and Income Uncertainty in Germany – New Evidence from Microdata," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 228(1), pages 5-24, February.
    6. Daniel Kemptner, 2013. "Health-Related Life Cycle Risks and Public Insurance," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1320, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    7. Christian Pfarr & Udo Schneider, 2011. "Anreizeffekte und Angebotsinduzierung im Rahmen der Riester‐Rente: Eine empirische Analyse geschlechts‐ und sozialisationsbedingter Unterschiede," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(1), pages 27-46, February.
    8. Andreas Fagereng & Martin B. Holm & Gisle J. Natvik, 2016. "MPC heterogeneity and household balance sheets," Discussion Papers 852, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    9. Giavazzi, Francesco & McMahon, Michael, 2008. "Policy Uncertainty and Precautionary Savings," CEPR Discussion Papers 6766, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. repec:eee:moneco:v:87:y:2017:i:c:p:13-33 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Christian Bayer & Falko Juessen, 2015. "Happiness and the Persistence of Income Shocks," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 160-187, October.
    12. Cristina Barceló & Ernesto Villanueva, 2010. "The response of household wealth to the risk of losing the job: evidence from differences in firing costs," Working Papers 1002, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    13. Bick, Alexander & Choi, Sekyu, 2013. "Revisiting the effect of household size on consumption over the life-cycle," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 2998-3011.
    14. Corneo, Giacomo & Keese, Matthias & Schröder, Carsten, 2008. "Can governments boost voluntary retirement savings via tax incentives and subsidies? A German case study for low-income households," Economics Working Papers 2008-18, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    15. Gert G. Wagner, 2009. "The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in the Nineties: An Example of Incremental Innovations in an Ongoing Longitudinal Study," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 257, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    16. Michael Wyrwich, 2015. "Entrepreneurship and the intergenerational transmission of values," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 191-213, June.

    More about this item

    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:crr:crrwps:wp2008-21. 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: (Amy Grzybowski) or (Christopher F Baum). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/crrbcus.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 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.

    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.