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Chinese Saving Dynamics: The Impact of GDP Growth and the Dependent Share


  • Carl Bonham

    () (University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics
    University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization (UHERO))

  • Call Wiemer

    () (University of California, Los Angeles, Center for Chinese Studies)


China’s national saving rate rose rapidly in the 2000s after declining through the late 1990s. These dynamics are not explained by precautionary motives, the institutional distribution of income, or reform related processes in general. Rather, we find a compelling explanation lies with GDP growth fluctuations and movement in the dependent share in population. We estimate a vector autoregressive model for the period 1978-2008, then generate in-sample simulations that successfully replicate the 2000s runup in the saving rate. Our out of sample forecasts show the saving rate dropping in the 2010s as the dependency share falls and GDP growth moderates.

Suggested Citation

  • Carl Bonham & Call Wiemer, 2010. "Chinese Saving Dynamics: The Impact of GDP Growth and the Dependent Share," Working Papers 201019, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:201019

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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.
    2. Charles Yuji Horioka & Junmin Wan, 2007. "The Determinants of Household Saving in China: A Dynamic Panel Analysis of Provincial Data," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 39(8), pages 2077-2096, December.
    3. 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.
    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. George A. Akerlof, 2009. "How Human Psychology Drives the Economy and Why It Matters," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1175-1175.
    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. Feldstein, Martin & Horioka, Charles, 1980. "Domestic Saving and International Capital Flows," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(358), pages 314-329, June.
    8. Hans-Martin Krolzig, 2003. "General-to-Specific Model Selection Procedures for Structural Vector Autoregressions," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 65(s1), pages 769-801, December.
    9. Michael Dooley & Jeffrey Frankel & Donald J. Mathieson, 1987. "International Capital Mobility: What Do Saving-Investment Correlations Tell Us?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 34(3), pages 503-530, September.
    10. Loayza, Norman & Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus & Serven, Luis, 2000. "What drives private saving around the world?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2309, The World Bank.
    11. Wing Thye Woo, 2006. "The Structural Nature of Internal and External Imbalances in China," Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 1-19.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dayong Zhang & Yu Wu, 2012. "Household Savings, the Stock Market, and Economic Growth in China," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(2), pages 44-58, March.
    2. Dayong Zhang & Yu Wu, 2012. "Household Savings, the Stock Market, and Economic Growth in China," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 48(2), pages 44-58, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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