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Have Working-Class Americans Always Been Low Savers? Savings and Accumulation Before the Advent of Social Insurance: The United States, 1885-1910

Author

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  • Thomas, M.

Abstract

The questions raised by this paper include the following: Did working-class American families around the turn of the twentieth century save more for precautionary purposes, to finance retirement or to provide for unforeseen circumstances such as unemployment, illnesses, or accidents before the advent of social insurance? Or have American workers always been low savers, culturally or economically deaf to the virtues of thrift, or reliant perhaps on informal social safety nets provided locally through churches, friends or family members? Or, perhaps, differences in other relevant factors, such as old-age life expectancy and age at retirement, were sufficient to offset private saving needed in the absence of social insurance?

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas, M., 1998. "Have Working-Class Americans Always Been Low Savers? Savings and Accumulation Before the Advent of Social Insurance: The United States, 1885-1910," Papers 98-06, Houston - Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:housto:98-06
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    SAVINGS ; HISTORICAL ANALYSIS;

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • N31 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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