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Japan's High Saving Rate Reaffirmed

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  • Robert Dekle
  • Lawrence H. Summers

Abstract

Compared to the U.S. national accounts, the Japanese accounts understate consumption and government spending, and therefore overstate the national saving rate. Recently, Hayashi has recalculated Japan's national saving according to the American Department of Commerce definition and found that from the mid-1970s until today, Japan's national saving rate is nearly halved. In this paper, we argue that Hayashi's adjustments to the Japanese income accounts are exaggerated, and present measures of Japanese and U.S. private saving that are immune from national income accounting biases. Our saving measures are constructed from the balance sheets of the household sectors in the United States and Japan. Far from being equal, we find that the two country gap in saving rates in the early 1980s has averaged between 15 and 30 percentage points, depending on the measure.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Dekle & Lawrence H. Summers, 1991. "Japan's High Saving Rate Reaffirmed," NBER Working Papers 3690, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3690
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fumio Hayashi, 1989. "Is Japan's saving rate high?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Spr, pages 3-9.
    2. Bradford, D.F., 1989. "Market Value Us. Financial Accounting Measures Of National Saving," Papers 34, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dekle, Robert, 2004. "Financing consumption in an aging Japan: The role of foreign capital inflows and immigration," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 506-527, December.
    2. Selo Imrohoroglu & Kaiji Chen & Ayse Imrohoroglu, 2005. "Japanese Saving Rate," 2005 Meeting Papers 747, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Yoshida, Jiro, 2016. "Structure Depreciation and the Production of Real Estate Services," HIT-REFINED Working Paper Series 44, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    4. David W. Campbell, 1999. "Explaining Japan's Saving Rate," Macroeconomics 9902004, EconWPA.

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