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Tax Incentives for Household Saving and Borrowing

The paper reviews the literature on these tax incentives, with special focus on long-term saving, housing, and household liabilities. The paper addresses several areas of policy intervention: (1) the interest rate effect on personal saving; (2) the effect of tax incentives on long-term mandatory saving programs; (3) government programs that target saving for home purchase; (4) government programs that target health and saving for education; (5) the effect of tax incentives to borrow, rather than to save. For each of these five important issues, the paper provides empirical evidence on the main characteristics of government programs, with a special focus on middle-income countries. It also addresses a number of issues that should be of interest to policy-makers. First of all, on which grounds government policy should target some assets rather than others. Second, if tax-sheltered assets and liabilities lead to substitution away from more heavily taxed savings instruments or if they affect the overall level of saving. And finally, if there is any lesson that can be drawn from the experience of developed countries for the design of saving and borrowing incentives in middle-income countries.

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Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 83.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Taxation of Financial Intermediation, edited by P. Honohan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003
Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:83
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  1. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer, 2002. "Courts: the Lex Mundi Project," NBER Working Papers 8890, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Luigi Guiso & Tullio Jappelli, 2000. "Household Portfolios in Italy," CSEF Working Papers 43, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  3. Hochguertel, Stefan & Alessie, Rob & van Soest, Arthur, 1997. " Saving Accounts versus Stocks and Bonds in Household Portfolio Allocation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(1), pages 81-97, March.
  4. Norman Loayza & Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel & Luis Servén, 1999. "What Drives Private Saving Across the World?," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 47, Central Bank of Chile.
  5. Jappelli, Tullio & Pagano, Marco, 1994. "Saving, Growth, and Liquidity Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 83-109, February.
  6. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1999. "Taxation and Saving," Working Papers 99007, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  7. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2001. "THE POWER OF SUGGESTION: INERTIA IN 401(k) PARTICIPATION AND SAVINGS BEHAVIOR," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1149-1187, November.
  8. Poterba, James M. (ed.), 1994. "Public Policies and Household Saving," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226676180, December.
  9. Jeanine Bailliu & Helmut Reisen, 1997. "Do Funded Pensions Contribute to Higher Aggregate Savings?: A Cross-Country Analysis," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 130, OECD Publishing.
  10. Martin Feldstein, 1992. "College Scholarship Rules and Private Saving," NBER Working Papers 4032, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. James M. Poterba, 2001. "Taxation and Portfolio Structure: Issues and Implications," NBER Working Papers 8223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. De Gregorio, Jose, 1996. "Borrowing constraints, human capital accumulation, and growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 49-71, February.
  13. Feldstein, Martin S, 1976. "Personal Taxation and Portfolio Composition: An Econometric Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(4), pages 631-50, July.
  14. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1996. "How Retirement Saving Programs Increase Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 91-112, Fall.
  15. Holzmann, Robert & Mac Arthur, Ian W. & Sin, Yvonne, 2000. "Pension systems in East Asia and the Pacific : challenges and opportunities," Social Protection Discussion Papers 23088, The World Bank.
  16. Jappelli, Tullio & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2001. "Tax Incentives and the Demand for Life Insurance: Evidence from Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 2787, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Thaler, Richard H, 1990. "Saving, Fungibility, and Mental Accounts," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 193-205, Winter.
  18. Musalem, Alberto R. & Impavido, Gregorio & Tressel, Thierry, 2001. "Contractual savings, capital markets, and firms'financing choices," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2612, The World Bank.
  19. Marco Cagetti, 2001. "Interest Elasticity in a Life-Cycle Model with Precautionary Savings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 418-421, May.
  20. Bayoumi, Tamim & Masson, Paul R & Samiei, Hossein, 1996. "International Evidence on the Determinants of Saving," CEPR Discussion Papers 1368, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Engelhardt, Gary V, 1996. "Tax Subsidies and Household Saving: Evidence from Canada," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1237-68, November.
  22. Souleles, Nicholas S., 2000. "College tuition and household savings and consumption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 185-207, August.
  23. King, Mervyn A. & Leape, Jonathan I., 1998. "Wealth and portfolio composition: Theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 155-193, June.
  24. Thaler, Richard H & Shefrin, H M, 1981. "An Economic Theory of Self-Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 392-406, April.
  25. Alfredo Cuevas & G. A. Mackenzie & Philip R. Gerson, 1997. "Pension Regimes and Saving," IMF Occasional Papers 153, International Monetary Fund.
  26. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1996. "The Illusory Effects of Saving Incentives on Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 113-138, Fall.
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