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The Decline in Private Saving Rates in the 1990s in OECD Countries: How Much Can be Explained by Non-Wealth Determinants?


  • Alain de Serres
  • Florian Pelgrin


The substantial decline in private-sector saving rates observed in several OECD countries in the late 1990s coincided in several cases with a sharp increase in household financial net worth. This was seen by many observers as evidence that the strong rise in equity and residential property prices during the late 1990s had been treated by households as a permanent increase in wealth, leading to an unsustainable drop in saving and raising fears of an eventual negative wealth effect. Applying estimation techniques for systems of dynamic panel equations, this paper looks at basic determinants of private saving for a sample of 15 OECD countries and finds that the sharp decline in saving observed after 1995 can be largely explained, even in a post-sample fashion, by fundamentals other than financial wealth. Among the determinants, the rise in public-sector saving is found to have contributed the most to the decline in private saving between 1995 and 2000. Based on this ... La baisse des taux d'épargne privée durant les années 1990s dans les pays de l'OCDE : La contribution des déterminants autres que la richesse? La baisse substantielle des taux d’épargne privée observée dans plusieurs pays de l’OCDE durant la fin des années 1990 a coincidé dans bien des cas avec une forte hausse de la richesse financière nette des ménages. Ce phénomène fut interprété par plusieurs analystes comme une indication que la forte augmentation des valeurs mobilières et immobilières durant cette période fut traitée par les ménages comme une hausse permanente de la richesse, entraînant une baisse non-soutenable de l’épargne, faisant ainsi surgir des craintes d’un éventuel effet de richesse négatif. A l’aide de l’application de techniques d’estimations pour un panel d’équations dynamiques, cette étude examine les principaux déterminants de l’épargne privée pour un échantillon de 15 pays de l’OCDE et trouve que la baisse de l’épargne observée après 1995 peutêtre largement expliquée par des déterminants fondamentaux autres que la richesse financière, y compris en période hors échantillon. Parmi les ...

Suggested Citation

  • Alain de Serres & Florian Pelgrin, 2002. "The Decline in Private Saving Rates in the 1990s in OECD Countries: How Much Can be Explained by Non-Wealth Determinants?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 344, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:344-en
    DOI: 10.1787/241254248236

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    effet de richesse; estimations de panel; panel estimates; private saving; wealth effects; épargne privée;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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