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What Determines the Saving Behavior of German Households? An Examination of Saving Motives and Saving Decisions

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  • Daniel Schunk

    () (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA))

Abstract

Many motives for saving a portion of one’s income co-exist and their relative importance changes over the life-cycle. However, most existing work focuses on only one of those motives and makes simplifying assumptions about the other motives so that they can be relegated to the background. All the more it is important to investigate heterogeneity in saving behavior in the presence of various co-existing saving motives. This paper is concerned with linking heterogeneity in German households’ savings decisions to four coexisting saving motives. First, I find that the importance that households attach to the saving motives is related to how much households save at different life stages. Second, I classify the saver type of the households based on whether they engage in regular savings plans, or rather save irregularly and without a savings plan and I find that saving motives are related to the saver type of the household. The results show that heterogeneity in saving behavior along two dimensions – with respect to the saving rate and the saver type – is systematically related to the importance that households attach to different saving motives. This suggests that policy reforms that change the importance of certain saving motives in the eyes of private households might alter household saving behavior in various ways.

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  • Daniel Schunk, 2007. "What Determines the Saving Behavior of German Households? An Examination of Saving Motives and Saving Decisions," MEA discussion paper series 07124, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:mea:meawpa:07124
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    Cited by:

    1. Bartzsch Nikolaus, 2008. "Precautionary Saving and Income Uncertainty in Germany – New Evidence from Microdata," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 228(1), pages 5-24, February.
    2. Julia Le Blanc & Alessandro Porpiglia & Federica Teppa & Junyi Zhu & Michael Ziegelmeyer, 2014. "Household saving behaviour and credit constraints in the euro area," BCL working papers 93, Central Bank of Luxembourg.
    3. Schäfer, Konrad C., 2016. "The Influence of Personality Traits on Private Retirement Savings in Germany," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-580, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    4. Schunk, Daniel, 2007. "What determines the saving behavior of German households? : an examination of saving motives and saving decisions," Papers 07-10, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    5. Bettina Lamla, 2013. "Family background and the decision to provide for old age: a siblings approach," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 40(3), pages 483-504, August.
    6. Hans Peter Grüner, 2009. "Kapitalbeteiligung von Mitarbeitern. Eine Bewertung der jüngsten Vorschläge," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10(2), pages 175-188, May.
    7. Konrad C. Schäfer, 2016. "The Influence of Personality Traits on Private Retirement Savings in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 867, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    8. Dummann, Kathrin, 2008. "Retirement saving and attitude towards financial intermediaries: Evidence for Germany," Thuenen-Series of Applied Economic Theory 99, University of Rostock, Institute of Economics.

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    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • 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

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