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

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  • Christopher Carroll
  • Jiri Slacalek
  • Martin Sommer

Abstract

We argue that the U.S. personal saving rate’s long stability (1960s–1980s), subsequent steady decline (1980s–2007), and recent substantial rise (2008–2011) can be interpreted using a parsimonious 'buffer stock' model of 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 determined by credit conditions and uncertainty. An estimated structural version of the model suggests that increased credit availability accounts for most of the long-term saving decline, while fluctuations in wealth and uncertainty capture the bulk of the business-cycle variation.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Carroll & Jiri Slacalek & Martin Sommer, 2012. "Dissecting Saving Dynamics: Measuring Wealth, Precautionary, and Credit Effects," Economics Working Paper Archive 602, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:jhu:papers:602
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    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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