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Household Finance in China

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  • Russell Cooper
  • Guozhong Zhu

Abstract

This paper uses a lifecycle model to study household finance in China, focusing on the high savings rate, the low stock market participation rate and the low share of stocks in wealth. We control for important regime changes in China in the estimation of structural parameters, and examine their impacts on household finance patterns. Relative to the US, the distinctive financial choices of households in China are driven by institutional factors, such as labor market risks and costs of asset market participation, as well as by differences in preferences. Specifically, large stock market participation and adjustment costs along with high stock market volatility in China lead to the relatively low stock market participation rate and the low share of stocks in wealth conditional on participation, but they contribute little to the high savings rate. The high savings rate in China is driven mainly by high labor market risks and the patience of households. Given the estimated differences between China and the US in preferences, the model predicts that households in China would continue to save more than their US counterparts even if institutional differences disappear.

Suggested Citation

  • Russell Cooper & Guozhong Zhu, 2017. "Household Finance in China," NBER Working Papers 23741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23741 Note: EFG
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Charles Horioka, 2014. "Are Americans and Indians more altruistic than the Japanese and Chinese? Evidence from a new international survey of bequest plans," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 411-437, September.
    2. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1989. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 937-969, July.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies

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