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

  • Xin Wang
  • Yi Wen
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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.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2010-048.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2010-048
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  1. Karl E. Case, John M. Quigley, Robert J. Shiller., 2001. "Comparing Wealth Effects: The Stock Market versus The Housing Market," Economics Working Papers E01-308, University of California at Berkeley.
  2. Marcos Chamon & Eswar Prasad, 2008. "Why are Saving Rates of Urban Households in China Rising?," NBER Working Papers 14546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Charles Yuji Horioka & Junmin Wan, 2007. "The determinants of household saving in China: a dynamic panel analysis of provincial data," Working Paper Series 2007-28, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  4. Kjetil Storesletten & Fabrizio Zilibotti & Zheng Song, 2009. "Growing like China," 2009 Meeting Papers 912, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  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. 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. Selo Imrohoroglu & Kaiji Chen & Ayse Imrohoroglu, 2005. "Japanese Saving Rate," 2005 Meeting Papers 747, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Xinhua He & Yongfu Cao, 2007. "Understanding High Saving Rate in China," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 15(1), pages 1-13.
  9. 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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