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Selected Aspects of Household Savings in Germany: Evidence from Micro-Data


  • Christina Kolerus

    (International Monetary Fund)

  • Isabell Koske


  • Felix Hüfner

    (Institute of International Finance)


This paper uses household level data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) over the period 1991 to 2008 to analyse the driving factors of movements in the German household savings rate. Specifically, it analyses the impact of the precautionary savings motive and the impact of the 2002 private pension reform (the so-called Riester reform) on households’ savings rate as these factors are among the most discussed in the German context. There is evidence for both factors at work: First, households with a more volatile income stream tend to save more and the extent to which they do depends on their (subjectively assessed) risk aversion. Second, the introduction of the Riester pension scheme in 2002 was associated with a general increase in the household savings rate, both for households that signed up for private pension contracts and for those that did not. This effect is not found for low-income households, thus confirming the findings of other studies. Principaux aspects de l'épargne des ménages en Allemagne : indications fournies par les microdonnées Ce document s’appuie sur des données recueillies auprès des ménages par le German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP) sur la période 1991-2008 afin d’analyser les déterminants des variations du taux d’épargne des ménages allemands. Il analyse en particulier l’impact du désir d’épargne de précaution et l'impact de la réforme des retraites privées de 2002 (« réforme Riester ») sur le taux d’épargne des ménages, ces facteurs étant parmi ceux qui présentent le plus d’intérêt dans le cas de l’Allemagne. Il apparaît que ces deux éléments jouent un rôle : En premier lieu, les ménages dont le revenu est plutôt irrégulier épargnent généralement plus et ce, en fonction de leur degré d’aversion au risque (évalué subjectivement). En second lieu, la mise en place du régime de retraite Riester en 2002 s’est accompagnée d’une hausse générale du taux d’épargne des ménages, aussi bien pour les signataires de contrats de retraite privés que pour les autres. Cet effet n’apparaît pas pour les ménages à faible revenu, ce qui confirme les résultats des autres études.

Suggested Citation

  • Christina Kolerus & Isabell Koske & Felix Hüfner, 2012. "Selected Aspects of Household Savings in Germany: Evidence from Micro-Data," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 999, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:999-en

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    GSOEP; GSOEP; household saving rate; precautionary savings; retirement savings; Riester reform; réforme Riester; taux d’épargne des ménages; épargne de précaution; épargne pour la retraite;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • 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

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