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The Determinants of Savings: Lessons from Italy

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  • Tullio Jappelli
  • Marco Pagano

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Tullio Jappelli & Marco Pagano, 1997. "The Determinants of Savings: Lessons from Italy," Research Department Publications 3012, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3012
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    1. Carroll, Christopher D. & Weil, David N., 1994. "Saving and growth: a reinterpretation," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 133-192, June.
    2. Modigliani, Franco, 1986. "Life Cycle, Individual Thrift, and the Wealth of Nations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 297-313, June.
    3. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1989. "Consumption and Capital Market Imperfections: An International Comparison," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1088-1105, December.
    4. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1991. "Why is Italy's Savings Rate So High?," CEPR Discussion Papers 572, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Paxson, Christina, 1996. "Saving and growth: Evidence from micro data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 255-288, February.
    6. Levine, Ross & Renelt, David, 1992. "A Sensitivity Analysis of Cross-Country Growth Regressions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 942-963, September.
    7. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1996. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1797-1855, December.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Tullio Jappelli & Marco Pagano, 1994. "Saving, Growth, and Liquidity Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 83-109.
    11. Rossi, Nicola & Visco, Ignazio, 1995. "National saving and social security in Italy," Ricerche Economiche, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 329-356, December.
    12. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrea Butelmann & Francisco Gallego, 2001. "Estimaciones de los determinantes del ahorro coluntario de los hogares en Chile (1988-1997)," Central Banking, Analysis, and Economic Policies Book Series,in: Felipe Morandé & Rodrigo Vergara & Norman Loayza (Series Editor) & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel (Series Edit (ed.), Análisis Empírico del Ahorro en Chile, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 141-190 Central Bank of Chile.
    2. Günther Fink & Silvia Redaelli, 2005. "Understanding Bequest Motives An Empirical Analysis of Intergenerational Transfers," DNB Working Papers 042, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    3. Andrea Butelmann & Francisco Gallego, 2001. "Estimaciones de los Determinantes del Ahorro Voluntario de los Hogares en Chile (1988 Y 1997)," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 97, Central Bank of Chile.
    4. Caterina Mendicino, 2006. "Credit Market and Macroeconomic Volatility," 2006 Meeting Papers 317, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Sinha, Dipendra & Sinha, Tapen, 1998. "Cart before the horse? The saving-growth nexus in Mexico," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 43-47, October.
    6. Caterina Mendicino, 2005. "Credit Market Development, Asset Prices and Business Cycle," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2005 74, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.

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