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Can rising housing prices explain China’s high household saving rate?

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  • Xin Wang
  • Yi Wen

Abstract

China’s average household saving rate is one of the highest in the world. One popular view attributes the high saving rate to fast rising housing prices and other costs of living in China. This article uses simple economic logic to show that rising housing prices and living costs per se cannot explain China’s high household saving rate. Although borrowing constraints and demographic changes can help translate housing prices to the aggregate saving rate, quantitative simulations using Chinese data on household income, housing prices, and demographics indicate that rising mortgage costs contribute at most 5 percentage points to the Chinese aggregate household saving rate, given the down-payment structure of China’s mortgage markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Xin Wang & Yi Wen, 2010. "Can rising housing prices explain China’s high household saving rate?," Working Papers 2010-048, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2010-048
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Case Karl E. & Quigley John M. & Shiller Robert J., 2005. "Comparing Wealth Effects: The Stock Market versus the Housing Market," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-34, May.
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    3. Horioka, Charles Yuji, 1990. "Why is Japan's household saving rate so high? A literature survey," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 49-92, March.
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    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Zheng Song & Kjetil Storesletten & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2011. "Growing Like China," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 196-233, February.
    8. Selo Imrohoroglu & Kaiji Chen & Ayse Imrohoroglu, 2005. "Japanese Saving Rate," 2005 Meeting Papers 747, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Atella, Vincenzo & Brugiavini, Agar & Pace, Noemi, 2015. "The health care system reform in China: Effects on out-of-pocket expenses and saving," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 182-195.
    2. 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.

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    Keywords

    Economic conditions - China ; Housing - Prices ; Consumer behavior ; China;

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