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Precautionary Savings in the Great Recession

  • Ashoka Mody
  • Damiano Sandri
  • Franziska Ohnsorge

Heightened uncertainty since the onset of the Great Recession has materially increased saving rates, contributing to lower consumption and GDP growth. Consistent with a model of precautionary savings in the face of uncertainty, we find for a panel of advanced economies that greater labor income uncertainty is significantly associated with higher household savings. These results are robust to controlling for other determinants of saving rates, including wealth-to-income ratios, the government fiscal balance, demographics, credit conditions, and global growth and financial stress. Our estimates imply that at least two-fifths of the sharp increase in household saving rates between 2007 and 2009 can be attributed to the precautionary savings motive.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 12/42.

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Length: 38
Date of creation: 01 Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/42
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  1. Schmidt-Hebbel, Klaus & Webb, Steven B. & Corsetti, Giancarlo, 1991. "Household saving in developing countries : first cross-country evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 575, The World Bank.
  2. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 7271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Edwards, Sebastian, 1996. "Why are Latin America's savings rates so low? An international comparative analysis," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 5-44, October.
  4. Jiri Slacalek, 2006. "What Drives Personal Consumption?: The Role of Housing and Financial Wealth," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 647, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Norman Loayza & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Luis Servén, 2000. "What Drives Private Saving Across the World?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 165-181, May.
  6. Nicholas Bloom, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, 05.
  7. Salant, Stephen W & Henderson, Dale W, 1978. "Market Anticipations of Government Policies and the Price of Gold," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(4), pages 627-48, August.
  8. Francesco Giavazzi & Michael McMahon, 2012. "Policy Uncertainty and Household Savings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(2), pages 517-531, May.
  9. Bayoumi, Tamim & Masson, Paul R & Samiei, Hossein, 1996. "International Evidence on the Determinants of Saving," CEPR Discussion Papers 1368, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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