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Household Saving in Germany: Results of the first SAVE study

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  • Axel Borsch-Supan
  • Lothar Essig

Abstract

Germany is an interesting country to study saving among older households since nearly everyone - whether in the middle income bracket or richer - saves substantial amounts in old age. Only households in the lowest quarter of the income distribution spend more between the ages of 60 and 75 than they save. Our paper exploits newly collected data, the first wave of the so-called SAVE panel, specifically collected to understand economic, psychological and sociological determinants of saving. Overall, we find extraordinarily stable savings patterns. More than 40% of German households save regularly a fixed amount. About 25% of German households plan their savings and have a clearly defined savings target in mind. Most of German household saving is in the form of contractual saving, such as saving plans, whole life insurance and building society contracts. This makes the flow of saving rather unresponsive to economic fluctuations, such as income shocks. Most households prefer to cut consumption if ends do not meet. In particular the elderly do not like to use credit cards, and they eschew debt. We suspect large cohort differences and will study them once further waves of the SAVE panel will become available.

Suggested Citation

  • Axel Borsch-Supan & Lothar Essig, 2003. "Household Saving in Germany: Results of the first SAVE study," NBER Working Papers 9902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9902
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    Cited by:

    1. Lothar Essig & Joachim K. Winter, 2009. "Item Non-Response to Financial Questions in Household Surveys: An Experimental Study of Interviewer and Mode Effects," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 30(Special I), pages 367-390, December.
    2. Ernesto Villanueva, 2005. "Inter vivos transfers and bequests in three OECD countries," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(43), pages 505-565, July.
    3. Lothar Essig, 2005. "Precautionary saving and old-age provisions: Do subjective saving motive measures work?," MEA discussion paper series 05084, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    4. Jan Babecky & Kamil Dybczak, 2009. "The Impact of Population Ageing on the Czech Economy," Working Papers 2009/1, Czech National Bank, Research Department.
    5. Lothar Essig, 2005. "Household Saving in Germany: Results from SAVE 2001-2003," MEA discussion paper series 05083, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    6. Essig, Lothar, 2004. "Household Saving in Germany:," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 05-23, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    7. Essig, Lothar, 2005. "Precautionary saving and old-age provisions : do subjective saving motives measures work?," Papers 05-22, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    8. Sherrill Shaffer & Lorein Thomas, 2007. "A reassessment of market power among credit card banks," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(9), pages 755-767.
    9. Erik Hurst & Arthur Kennickell & Annamaria Lusardi & Francisco Torralba, 2005. "Precautionary Savings and the Importance of Business Owners," NBER Working Papers 11731, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Jung, Anna & Thöne, Michael & Elschner, Christina & Ernst, Christof & Overesch, Michael & Bergs, Christian & Schaefer, Thilo, 2009. "Evaluierung von Steuervergünstigungen. Band 3: Evaluierungsberichte (zweiter Teilband). Endfassung (Herbst 2009). Forschungsauftrag Projektnummer 15/07 des Bundesministeriums der Finanzen," ZEW Expertises, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research, number 110522.
    11. Arthur Kennickell & Annamaria Lusardi, 2004. "Disentangling the Importance of the Precautionary Saving Mode," NBER Working Papers 10888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Essig, Lothar, 2005. "Household saving in Germany : results from SAVE 2001 - 2003," Papers 05-23, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    13. Martin Beznoska & Richard Ochmann, 2010. "Household Savings Decision and Income Uncertainty," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1046, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

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    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior

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