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Precautionary Savings in a Small Open Economy Revisited

  • Agustin Roitman
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    A common assumption in standard economic models is that agents are risk-averse and prudent, and it is often argued that prudence is necessary to generate precautionary savings. This paper shows that prudence is not necessary to generate precautionary savings in small open economy models with more than two periods. A new class of preferences, which enables the isolation of the effect of risk aversion on precautionary savings, is introduced. The effects of changes in risk aversion, interest rates, and persistence and volatility of shocks on average asset holdings are qualitatively identical to the ones observed for standard constant-elasticity-of-substitution preferences. These results show that the almost universal assertion in the literature - that only prudent consumers can generate positive levels of precautionary savings - is simply incorrect.

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    Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 11/253.

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    Length: 23
    Date of creation: 01 Nov 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:11/253
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    1. Enrique G. Mendoza & Ceyhun Bora Durdu & Marco Terrones, 2007. "Precautionary Demand for Foreign Assets in Sudden Stop Economies: An Assessment of the New Merchantilism," IMF Working Papers 07/146, International Monetary Fund.
    2. 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.
    3. Mark Huggett, 2004. "Precautionary Wealth Accumulation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(3), pages 769-781.
    4. Huggett, Mark & Ospina, Sandra, 2001. "Aggregate precautionary savings: when is the third derivative irrelevant?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 373-396, October.
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