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Dissecting Saving Dynamics; Measuring Wealth, Precautionary, and Credit Effects

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  • Christopher Carroll
  • Martin Sommer
  • Jiri Slacalek

Abstract

We argue that the U.S. personal saving rate’s long stability (from the 1960s through the early 1980s), subsequent steady decline (1980s - 2007), and recent substantial increase (2008 - 2011) can all be interpreted using a parsimonious ‘buffer stock’ model of optimal consumption in the presence of labor income uncertainty and credit constraints. Saving in the model is affected by the gap between ‘target’ and actual wealth, with the target wealth determined by credit conditions and uncertainty. An estimated structural version of the model suggests that increased credit availability accounts for most of the saving rate’s long-term decline, while fluctuations in net wealth and uncertainty capture the bulk of the business-cycle variation.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Carroll & Martin Sommer & Jiri Slacalek, 2012. "Dissecting Saving Dynamics; Measuring Wealth, Precautionary, and Credit Effects," IMF Working Papers 12/219, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/219
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic models; Credit restraint; Consumption; Credit; Private savings; Income; United States; Saving; Wealth; Uncertainty; unemployment; disposable income; unemployment risk; consumption function; income growth;

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy

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