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Did Japanese Consumers Become More Prudent During 1998-1999?: Evidence From Household Level Data

  • Masahiro Hori
  • Satoshi Shimizutani

This paper explores empirically whether Japanese consumers became more prudent in the second half of the 1990s, a decade in which Japan registered historically low economic growth. Employing the methodology developed by Dynan (1993), this study uses micro-level data from the Family Savings Survey and the Family Income and Expenditure Survey to estimate the coefficient of prudence for Japanese households in the second half of the 1990s. The estimates reveal that the coefficient of prudence is positive and statistically significant in the 1998-1999 period. The obtained value for the coefficient of prudence is four, which is much higher than those estimated for U.S. households (not significantly different from zero) or U.K. households (around 2). The estimated coefficient for young households is higher still, which is consistent with simulation studies conducted by Gourinchas and Parker (2002) showing that precaution is the most important saving motive for younger households.

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File URL: http://hi-stat.ier.hit-u.ac.jp/research/discussion/2005/pdf/D05-109.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University in its series Hi-Stat Discussion Paper Series with number d05-109.

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Date of creation: Aug 2005
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Handle: RePEc:hst:hstdps:d05-109
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  1. Orazio P. Attanasio & Hamish Low, 2000. "Estimating Euler Equations," NBER Technical Working Papers 0253, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Philip Merrigan & Michel Normandin, 1994. "Precautionary Saving Motives: An Assessment from U.K. Time Series of Cross-Sections," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 29, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  3. Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "The Buffer-Stock Theory of Saving: Some Macroeconomic Evidence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 61-156.
  4. Dreze, Jacques H. & Modigliani, Franco, 1972. "Consumption decisions under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 308-335, December.
  5. repec:att:wimass:9722 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1992. "Earnings Uncertainty and Precautionary Saving," CEPR Discussion Papers 699, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Karen E. Dynan, 1993. "How prudent are consumers?," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 135, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
  9. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 7271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Dynan, Karen E, 1993. "How Prudent Are Consumers?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 1104-13, December.
  11. Charles Yuji Horioka & Hideki Fujisaki & Wako Watanabe & Takatsugu Kouno, 2000. "Are Americans More Altruistic than the Japanese? A U.S.-Japan Comparison of Saving and Bequest Motives," NBER Working Papers 7463, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Christopher D Carroll, 1990. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," Economics Working Paper Archive 371, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics, revised Aug 1996.
  13. HORI Masahiro & SHIMIZUTANI Satoshi, 2002. "Micro Data Studies on Japanese Household Consumption," ESRI Discussion paper series 015, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  14. Horioka, Charles Yuji & Watanabe, Wako, 1997. "Why Do People Save? A Micro-Analysis of Motives for Household Saving in Japan," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(442), pages 537-52, May.
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