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Explaining Household Saving Rates in G7 Countries: Implications for Germany

Listed author(s):
  • Felix Hüfner


  • Isabell Koske


Many propositions have been made to explain the increase in the German household saving rate since the year 2000 from an individual country perspective but most of them focus on partial aspects. This paper adds to the discussion by analysing whether factors common to other industrial countries help to explain the behaviour of the German household saving rate. We analyse the determinants of household saving rates in the G7 countries since the 1970s in a panel co-integration framework. Unlike many previous studies, our specification allows for heterogeneity in the long- and short-run parameters across countries and explicitly distinguishes between financial liberalisation effects and wealth effects. Apart from finding that income developments as well as real interest rates and inflation are influencing household savings in most countries, results suggest that wealth effects through house and stock prices play a role in many countries, notably over the more recent period. According to the model, the recent increase in the German saving rate is due to two factors: Firstly, the actual saving rate was below its estimated equilibrium level at the end of the 1990s, implying an upward correction over the medium term. Secondly, the equilibrium saving rate has moved upwards in the first half of the 2000s, largely because of declines in stock prices. Expliquer les taux d'épargne des ménages dans les pays du G7 : implications pour l'Allemagne Plusieurs propositions ont été faites pour expliquer l'augmentation du taux d'épargne des ménages allemands depuis l'année 2000 à partir d'un point de vue du pays individuel mais la plupart se focalisent sur des aspects partiels. Ce papier étoffe la discussion en analysant si des facteurs communs à d'autres pays industrialisés aident à expliquer le comportement du taux d'épargne des ménages allemands. Nous analysons les déterminants du taux d'épargne des ménages dans les pays du G7 depuis les années 70 à l’aide du système de cointégration de panel. Contrairement à de nombreuses études précédentes, notre spécification permet d'hétérogénéité des paramètres à long et court terme entre les pays et fait explicitement la distinction entre les effets de la libéralisation financière et les effets de richesse. En plus de conclure que l'évolution des revenus ainsi que des taux d'intérêt réels et de l'inflation influent sur l'épargne des ménages dans la plupart des pays, les résultats suggèrent que les effets de richesse à travers les prix immobiliers et les prix des actions jouent un rôle dans de nombreux pays, notamment au cours de la période plus récente. Selon le modèle, deux facteurs expliquent l'augmentation récente du taux d'épargne allemande : premièrement, le taux d'épargne réel a été en-dessous de son niveau d'équilibre estimé à la fin des années 90, ce qui implique une correction à la hausse sur le moyen terme. Deuxièmement, l'équilibre du taux d'épargne s'est déplacé vers le haut dans la première moitié des années 2000, essentiellement en raison de la baisse des prix des actions.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 754.

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Date of creation: 04 Mar 2010
Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:754-en
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