Structure of Financial Savings during Indian Economic Reforms
In an economy undergoing structural reforms the composition of savings goes through considerable change. It is important to understand such changes both for increasing the volume of aggregate savings (to garner resources for higher economic growth) as well as affecting their composition (towards more productive instruments) through an understanding of inter-asset substitutability. We conduct nonparametric tests to examine whether data on financial savings in India can be rationalized in terms of a utility function of a representative economic agent. The parametric test has the disadvantage that in some cases it is not possible to distinguish between rejections of the functional form from a rejection of weak separability. We establish that data on financial savings in India are consistent with the existence of a utility function for a representative individual with a sub-preference where contractual savings (insurance and provident funds) can be separated out. This would facilitate construction of a suitable financial aggregate using these assets.
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