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Income Inequality and Saving

Author

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  • Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco

    (McGill University)

  • El-Attar, Mayssun

    (McGill University)

Abstract

Over the last three decades, average income for the bottom half of the US distribution increased by 8% while their average saving rate decreased by eight percentage points. Over the same period the US experienced a substantial increase in inequality and a continuous decrease in the aggregate saving rate. We propose an explanation based on interpersonal comparisons consistent with these trends. When households care about their consumption relative to others, individual saving rates decrease with reference income while aggregate saving decreases with income inequality. We provide evidence from the PSID and a panel of OECD countries consistent with these predictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco & El-Attar, Mayssun, 2012. "Income Inequality and Saving," IZA Discussion Papers 7083, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7083
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    Cited by:

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    2. Giusto, Andrea & Ä°ÅŸcan, Talan B., 2019. "Market Power And The Aggregate Saving Rate," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(6), pages 2269-2297, September.
    3. Yonatan Berman & Yoash Shapira & Eshel Ben-Jacob, 2015. "Modeling the Origin and Possible Control of the Wealth Inequality Surge," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 10(6), pages 1-21, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    relative consumption; income inequality; saving;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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