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Co-residence, Life-Cycle Savings and Inter-generational Support in Urban China

Author

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  • Rosenzweig, Mark R.

    (Yale University)

  • Zhang, Junsen

    (Chinese University of Hong Kong)

Abstract

We use unique data characterizing individual savings for twins and non-twins in urban China to examine why the savings rates of the young are elevated relative to the middle-aged, despite rising individual life-cycle incomes. We show that inter-generational co-residence masks the true life-cycle patterns of individual savings in standard Chinese household data sets, which are aggregated at the household level. Moreover, we show that to understand life-cycle savings behavior it is necessary to take into account inter-generational co-residence, an important phenomenon in China and in many developing countries. To test a model that describes joint life-cycle savings and co-residence decisions by two generations, we use a variety of standard twins methods. The estimates provide support for the model, including that individuals born into larger families provide less financial support to parents and are more likely to co-reside with parents when young, but do not have different savings rates. We also found that inter-generational co-residence is lower the higher the incomes of the young but higher when the parents have higher incomes and that inter-generational co-residence, net of income, is associated with higher savings for the young but not higher savings for the old. Our results highlight the importance of high housing costs and the prevalence of inter-generational shared housing as key reasons for the higher savings rates for the urban young in China, but also indicate that in urban China neither old-age support by the young nor the one-child policy are major factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Zhang, Junsen, 2014. "Co-residence, Life-Cycle Savings and Inter-generational Support in Urban China," Working Papers 131, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:yaleco:131
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Oliveira, Jaqueline, 2016. "The value of children: Inter-generational support, fertility, and human capital," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 1-16.
    2. Ernest Dautovic & Harald Hau & Yi Huang, 2017. "The Consumption Response to Minimum Wages: Evidence from Chinese Households," IHEID Working Papers 01-2017, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
    3. Curtis, Chadwick C. & Lugauer, Steven & Mark, Nelson C., 2017. "Demographics and aggregate household saving in Japan, China, and India," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 175-191.
    4. repec:spr:jopoec:v:31:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s00148-017-0655-y is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Yu Zheng & Raul Santaeulalia, 2016. "The Price of Growth: Consumption Insurance in China 1989-2009," 2016 Meeting Papers 826, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Ayşe İmrohoroğlu & Kai Zhao, 2017. "The Chinese Saving Rate: Long-Term Care Risks, Family Insurance, and Demographics," Working papers 2017-17, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    7. Lingguo Cheng & Hong Liu & Ye Zhang & Zhong Zhao, 2018. "The heterogeneous impact of pension income on elderly living arrangements: evidence from China’s new rural pension scheme," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 31(1), pages 155-192, January.
    8. Steven Lugauer & Jinlan Ni & Zhichao Yin, 2014. "Micro-Data Evidence on Family Size and Chinese Saving Rates," Working Papers 023, University of Notre Dame, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2014.
    9. Nie, Jun & Palmer, Andrew, 2016. "Consumer Spending in China: The Past and the Future," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q III, pages 25-49.
    10. Ding, Weili & Zhang, Yuan, 2014. "When a son is born: The impact of fertility patterns on family finance in rural China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 192-208.
    11. FAN, Yi, 2016. "Intergenerational income persistence and transmission mechanism: Evidence from urban China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 299-314.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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