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Why Are Saving Rates of Urban Households in China Rising?

  • Chamon, Marcos

    ()

    (International Monetary Fund)

  • Prasad, Eswar

    ()

    (Cornell University)

From 1995 to 2005, the average urban household saving rate in China rose by 8 percentage points, to about one quarter of disposable income. We use household-level data to explain why households are postponing consumption despite rapid income growth. Tracing cohorts over time indicates a virtual absence of consumption smoothing over the life cycle. The age profile of savings has an unusual U-shaped pattern, with saving rates being the highest among the youngest and oldest households. We find that financial underdevelopment, as reflected in constraints on borrowing and low returns on financial assets, partially accounts for this pattern. Moreover, overall saving rates have increased across all demographic groups. We argue that this can be explained by the rising private burden of expenditures on housing, education, and health care.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3191.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, 2010, 2 (1), 93-130
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3191
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  9. Nicola Fuchs-Schundeln & Matthias Schundeln, 2005. "Precautionary Savings and Self-Selection - Evidence from the German Reunification "Experiment"," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2069, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  12. Angus Deaton, 2005. "ERRATUM: Measuring Poverty in a Growing World (or Measuring Growth in a Poor World)," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 395-395, May.
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  22. Angus Deaton, 2005. "Measuring Poverty in a Growing World (or Measuring Growth in a Poor World)," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 1-19, February.
  23. Attanasio, O.P. & Browning, M.J., 1993. "Consumption over the life cycle and over the business cycle," Discussion Paper 1993-14, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  24. Meng, Xin, 2003. "Unemployment, consumption smoothing, and precautionary saving in urban China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 465-485, September.
  25. Christopher D. Carroll & Byung-Kun Rhee & Changyong Rhee, 1994. "Are There Cultural Effects on Saving? Some Cross-Sectional Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 685-699.
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  27. Wooheon Rhee, 2004. "Habit Formation And Precautionary Saving: Evidence From The Korean Household Panel Studies," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 29(2), pages 1-19, December.
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