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The Competitive Saving Motive: Concept, Evidence, and Implications

Author

Listed:
  • Wei , Shang-Jin

    () (Asian Development Bank)

  • Zhang, Xiaobo

    () (Peking University)

Abstract

This short essay surveys recent literature on the competitive saving motive and its broader economic implications. The competitive saving motive is defined as saving to improve one's status relative to other competitors for dating and marriage partners. Here are some of the key results of the recent literature: (i) cross-country evidence show that greater gender imbalances tend to correspond with higher savings rates; (ii) household-level evidence suggest that: (a) families with unmarried sons in rural regions with more skewed sex ratios tend to have higher savings rates, while savings rates of families with unmarried daughters appear uncorrelated with gender imbalances; and (b) savings rates of families in cities tend to rise with the local sex ratio; (iii) rising sex ratios contribute nearly half of the rise in housing prices in the People’s Republic of China; and (iv) families with sons in regions of greater sex ratios are more likely to become entrepreneurs and take risky jobs to earn more income.

Suggested Citation

  • Wei , Shang-Jin & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2015. "The Competitive Saving Motive: Concept, Evidence, and Implications," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 465, Asian Development Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:adbewp:0465
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John Knight & Li Shi & Deng Quheng, 2010. "Son Preference and Household Income in Rural China," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(10), pages 1786-1805.
    2. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "The Competitive Saving Motive: Evidence from Rising Sex Ratios and Savings Rates in China," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(3), pages 511-564.
    3. Nikolai Roussanov & Pavel G. Savor, 2012. "Status, Marriage, and Managers' Attitudes To Risk," NBER Working Papers 17904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Charles Yuji Horioka & Akiko Terada-Hagiwara, 2016. "The Impact of Pre-marital Sex Ratios on Household Saving in Two Asian Countries: The Competitive Saving Motive Revisited," ISER Discussion Paper 0975, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    competition; current account; saving; sex ratio;

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General

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