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Political Uncertainty and Household Savings

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  • Aaberge, Rolf

    (Statistics Norway)

  • Liu, Kai

    (University of Cambridge)

  • Zhu, Yu

    (University of Dundee)

Abstract

Despite macroeconomic evidence pointing to a negative aggregate consumption response due to political uncertainty, few papers have used microeconomic panel data to analyze how households adjust their consumption after an uncertainty shock. We study household savings and expenditure adjustment from an unexpected, large-scale and rapidly evolving political shock that occurred largely in May 1989 in Beijing, China. Using monthly micro panel data, we present evidence that a surge in political uncertainty resulted in significant temporary increases in savings among urban households in China. Households responded mainly by reducing semi-durable expenditure and frequency of major durable adjustment. The uncertainty effect is more pronounced among older, wealthier, and more socially advantaged households. We interpret our findings using existing models of precautionary behavior. By focusing on time variation in uncertainty, our identification strategy avoids many of the potential problems in empirical studies of precautionary savings such as self-selection and life-cycle effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Aaberge, Rolf & Liu, Kai & Zhu, Yu, 2014. "Political Uncertainty and Household Savings," IZA Discussion Papers 8692, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8692
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    Cited by:

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    3. Peter W. Muriu, 2021. "Does the Quality of Institutions Matter for Financial Inclusion? Cross Country Evidence," International Journal of Economics and Finance, Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 13(7), pages 1-27, June.
    4. Ngasuko, Tri Achya, 2018. "Faktor Yang Mempengaruhi Rumah Tangga Untuk Mengakses Lembaga Keuangan Formal: Studi Kasus Susenas 2015 [Determinant Factor For Household To Access Formal Financial Institution: The Study Case Suse," MPRA Paper 97995, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Dung Viet Tran, 2020. "Policy uncertainty and bank lending," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 40(2), pages 952-977.
    6. Nam, Eun-Young & Lee, Kiryoung & Jeon, Yoontae, 2021. "Macroeconomic uncertainty shocks and households’ consumption choice," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    7. Woo‐Jong Lee & Jeffrey Pittman & Walid Saffar, 2020. "Political Uncertainty and Cost Stickiness: Evidence from National Elections around the World," Contemporary Accounting Research, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 37(2), pages 1107-1139, June.
    8. Badar Nadeem Ashraf, 2021. "Is Economic Uncertainty a Risk Factor in Bank Loan Pricing Decisions? International Evidence," Risks, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(5), pages 1-17, April.
    9. Chen, Shaojian & Mao, Hui & Feng, Zongxian, 2020. "Political uncertainty and firm entry: Evidence from Chinese manufacturing industries," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 16-30.
    10. Marina Malkina, 2019. "Determinants of Private Savings in the Form of Bank Deposits: A Case Study on Regions of the Russian Federation," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(2), pages 1-22, June.
    11. Steven J. Davis, 2019. "Rising Policy Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 26243, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Tonzer Lena, 2019. "Elevated Uncertainty during the Financial Crisis: Do Effects on Subjective Well-Being Differ across European Countries?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 19(2), pages 1-15, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    China; household savings; political uncertainty;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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