IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nzt/nztwps/09-04.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Saving Rates of New Zealanders: A Net Wealth Approach

Author

Listed:

Abstract

Reliable estimates of actual household saving rates in New Zealand have proved elusive as existing sources of data have in the past given disparate estimates, making it difficult to reach a consensus of the real rate of household saving. For the first time in New Zealand, however, longitudinal data on the assets and liabilities of households at the unit record level are becoming available from Statistics New Zealand’s multi-year national longitudinal Survey of Family Income and Employment (SoFIE). In this paper we first update estimates from the Reserve Bank’s aggregate data on the household sector (a stock approach) and those from Statistics New Zealand’s national accounts (a flow approach). These continue to give widely different estimates of the overall household saving rate, although both were negative in 2008 and both below their long-run trend values. We then present initial estimates derived from SoFIE by comparing individuals’ net wealth in 2004 with that in 2006 and computing the implied real saving rate on an annual basis. This yielded an overall median estimate of 16%. This is virtually the same as the long-run average annual saving rate measured from the aggregate household balance sheet from RBNZ. Furthermore, the estimated saving rates between 2004 and 2006 for the whole household sector in total are almost identical using RBNZ and SoFIE data. However, it must be stressed that median estimates should be complemented with a measure of dispersion. There is a strikingly wide distribution of saving rates. For example across many categories of individuals around 40% are estimated to have had a decline in net wealth, implying a negative rate of saving. Initial explorations into the reasons for this are undertaken in the paper, but as yet are not fully understood. Measurement errors in the data can account for some of the disparities but much remains for further research. Finally we demonstrate that over the period 2004 to 2006, passive saving in the form of the revaluation of house prices constituted a major part of the total change in net wealth. After removing owner-occupied property as an asset, the median saving rate remained positive at 5%, close to the long run average rate from the aggregate RBNZ data after correcting for changes in house prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Grant M. Scobie & Katherine Henderson, 2009. "Saving Rates of New Zealanders: A Net Wealth Approach," Treasury Working Paper Series 09/04, New Zealand Treasury.
  • Handle: RePEc:nzt:nztwps:09/04
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/research-policy/wp/2009/09-04/twp09-04.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Trinh Le & Grant Scobie & John Gibson, 2009. "Are Kiwis saving enough for retirement? Evidence from SOFIE," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(1), pages 3-19.
    2. Martin Lettau & Sydney C. Ludvigson, 2004. "Understanding Trend and Cycle in Asset Values: Reevaluating the Wealth Effect on Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 276-299, March.
    3. Wilkinson, Bryce & Le, Trinh, 2008. "Is poor household saving the cause of New Zealand's high current account deficit?," NZIER Working Paper 2008/1, New Zealand Institute of Economic Research.
    4. Katherine Henderson & Grant M. Scobie, 2009. "Household Debt in New Zealand," Treasury Working Paper Series 09/03, New Zealand Treasury.
    5. Seater, John J, 1993. "Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 142-190, March.
    6. John K Gibson & Grant M Scobie, 2001. "Household Saving Behaviour in New Zealand: A Cohort Analysis," Treasury Working Paper Series 01/18, New Zealand Treasury.
    7. Mark van Zijll de Jong & Grant M. Scobie, 2006. "Housing: An Analysis of Ownership and Investment Based on the Household Savings Survey," Treasury Working Paper Series 06/07, New Zealand Treasury.
    8. Wainer H. & Brown L.M., 2004. "Two Statistical Paradoxes in the Interpretation of Group Differences: Illustrated with Medical School Admission and Licensing Data," The American Statistician, American Statistical Association, vol. 58, pages 117-123, May.
    9. Iris Claus & Grant Scobie, 2002. "Saving in New Zealand: Measurement and Trends," Treasury Working Paper Series 02/02, New Zealand Treasury.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Daan Steenkamp, 2010. "New Zealand’s imbalances in a cross-country context," Reserve Bank of New Zealand Bulletin, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, vol. 73, pages 37-49, December.
    2. Ross Guest, 2014. "Population ageing and productivity: A survey with implications for New Zealand," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(2), pages 153-168, August.
    3. Trinh Le & John Gibson & Steven Stillman, 2010. "Household Wealth and Saving in New Zealand: Evidence from the Longitudinal Survey of Family, Income and Employment," Working Papers 10_06, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Net wealth; saving; saving rates; unit records; permanent wealth; transitory components; New Zealand;

    JEL classification:

    • D18 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Protection
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • 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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nzt:nztwps:09/04. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Web and Publishing Team, The Treasury). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/tregvnz.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.