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Household Savings: A Survey of Recent Microeconomic Theory and Evidence

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Abstract

This paper summarises recent theoretical and empirical developments in the vast literature that has examined the microeconomic determinants of household saving. It is designed as a primer to provide a basic understanding of some of the developments in the literature in the last decade. The paper uses the standard intertemporal optimising model as the basic organisational framework, and includes a discussion of precautionary savings, liquidity constraints and bequests. The empirical data is examined in light of this framework. Three key issues related to superannuation provision arise. First, evidence suggests that in most countries households continue to save after retirement. Second, in several countries there is evidence that most people hold very few financial assets at any stage of their lives, and a large number of people hold very few assets, either financial or real. Third, intergenerational transfers appear to provide a motive for the lack of consumption for many of the elderly, particularly the wealthy.

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  • Andrew Coleman, 1998. "Household Savings: A Survey of Recent Microeconomic Theory and Evidence," Treasury Working Paper Series 98/08, New Zealand Treasury.
  • Handle: RePEc:nzt:nztwps:98/08
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    File URL: https://treasury.govt.nz/sites/default/files/2007-10/twp98-08.pdf
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    1. Deaton, Angus, 1991. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1221-1248, September.
    2. Patrick J. Bayer & B. Douglas Bernheim & John Karl Scholz, 2009. "The Effects Of Financial Education In The Workplace: Evidence From A Survey Of Employers," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(4), pages 605-624, October.
    3. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1994. "Expanding the Life-Cycle Model: Precautionary Saving and Public Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 174-179, May.
    4. Noriyuki Takayama & Yukinobu Kitamura, 1994. "Household Saving Behavior in Japan," NBER Chapters, in: International Comparisons of Household Saving, pages 125-168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. James M. Poterba, 1994. "International Comparisons of Household Saving," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number pote94-1, September.
    6. Hall, Robert E & Mishkin, Frederic S, 1982. "The Sensitivity of Consumption to Transitory Income: Estimates from Panel Data on Households," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 461-481, March.
    7. James M. Poterba, 1994. "Introduction to "International Comparisons of Household Saving"," NBER Chapters, in: International Comparisons of Household Saving, pages 1-10, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mapa, Dennis S & Bersales, Lisa Grace S, 2008. "Population Dynamics and Household Saving: Evidence from the Philippines," MPRA Paper 21245, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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