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The Determinants of Savings: Lessons from Italy

  • Tullio Jappelli
  • Marco Pagano

In most of the postwar period Italy featured an abnormally high saving rate in comparison to that of most other industrialized countries. But this is no longer true. Under any definition, in the last decade the Italian saving rate has fallen below the average of the developed economies. Why was the Italian saving ratio comparatively high and why has its decline been so dramatic? In this paper we consider various potential answers to these questions. We particularly focus on the recent slowdown in productivity growth, the development of credit and insurance markets, and changes in the social security system. In the second part of the paper we use a series of repeated cross-sections from the Survey of Household Income and Wealth in order to determine whether the macroeconomic explanations for the decline in saving are consistent with microeconomic data.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 3012.

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Date of creation: Nov 1997
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Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3012
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  1. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1991. "A sensitivity analysis of cross-country growth regressions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 609, The World Bank.
  2. Modigliani, Franco, 1985. "Life Cycle, Individual Thrift and the Wealth of Nations," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1985-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
  3. Guiso, L. & Jappelli, T. & Terlizzese, D., 1992. "Why is Italy Saving Rate so High?," Papers 167, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
  4. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1996. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Discussion Papers 96-01, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  5. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1994. "Saving, Growth, and Liquidity Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 83-109, February.
  6. Christopher D. Carroll & David N. Weil, 1993. "Saving and growth: a reinterpretation," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 140, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Paxson, Christina, 1996. "Saving and growth: Evidence from micro data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 255-288, February.
  8. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244, March.
  9. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1988. "Consumption and Capital Market Imperfection: An International Comparison," CEPR Discussion Papers 244, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Rossi, Nicola & Visco, Ignazio, 1995. "National saving and social security in Italy," Ricerche Economiche, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 329-356, December.
  11. Hayashi, Fumio & Ito, Takatoshi & Slemrod, Joel, 1988. "Housing finance imperfections, taxation, and private saving: A comparative simulation analysis of the United States and Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 215-238, September.
  12. Jappelli, Tullio, 1995. "Does social security reduce the accumulation of private wealth? Evidence from Italian survey data," Ricerche Economiche, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 1-31, March.
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