IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ssb/dispap/793.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Political uncertainty and household savings

Author

Listed:

Abstract

Despite macroeconomic evidence pointing to a negative aggregate consumption response due to political uncertainty, few papers have used microeconomic panel data to analyze how households adjust their consumption after an uncertainty shock. We study household savings and expenditure adjustment from an unexpected, large-scale and rapidly evolving political shock that occurred largely in May 1989 in Beijing, China. Using monthly micro panel data from a sample of the Urban Household Survey, we present evidence that a surge in political uncertainty resulted in significant temporary increases in savings among urban households in China. Our estimates also suggest the channel through which increase in savings is achieved: the increase in savings is driven by reductions in semi-durable expenditure and frequency of major durable adjustment. The uncertainty effect is more pronounced among older, wealthier, and more socially advantaged households. We interpret our findings using existing models of precautionary behavior. By focusing on time variation in uncertainty, our identification strategy avoids many of the potential problems in empirical studies of precautionary savings such as self-selection and life-cycle effects. Our findings on the channel of adjustment also coincide with the predictions from models on consumer durables adjustment combined with income uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

  • Rolf Aaberge & Kai Liu & Yu Zhu, 2014. "Political uncertainty and household savings," Discussion Papers 793, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:793
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.ssb.no/en/forskning/discussion-papers/_attachment/210837
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1996. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1797-1855, December.
    2. Ramey, Garey & Ramey, Valerie A, 1995. "Cross-Country Evidence on the Link between Volatility and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1138-1151, December.
    3. N. Bloom., 2016. "Fluctuations in uncertainty," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 4.
    4. Christopher D. Carroll, 1997. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 1-55.
    5. Caballero, Ricardo J., 1990. "Consumption puzzles and precautionary savings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 113-136, January.
    6. Costas Meghir & Luigi Pistaferri, 2004. "Income Variance Dynamics and Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(1), pages 1-32, January.
    7. Bryan Kelly & Ľuboš Pástor & Pietro Veronesi, 2016. "The Price of Political Uncertainty: Theory and Evidence from the Option Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 71(5), pages 2417-2480, October.
    8. Kimball, Miles S, 1990. "Precautionary Saving in the Small and in the Large," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(1), pages 53-73, January.
    9. Martin Browning & Mette Ejrnæs & Javier Alvarez, 2010. "Modelling Income Processes with Lots of Heterogeneity," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(4), pages 1353-1381.
    10. Christopher D. Carroll & Karen E. Dynan & Spencer D. Krane, 2003. "Unemployment Risk and Precautionary Wealth: Evidence from Households' Balance Sheets," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 586-604, August.
    11. Marcos D. Chamon & Eswar S. Prasad, 2010. "Why Are Saving Rates of Urban Households in China Rising?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 93-130, January.
    12. Bryan Kelly & Ľuboš Pástor & Pietro Veronesi, 2016. "The Price of Political Uncertainty: Theory and Evidence from the Option Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 71(5), pages 2417-2480, October.
    13. Giuseppe Bertola & Luigi Guiso & Luigi Pistaferri, 2005. "Uncertainty and Consumer Durables Adjustment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(4), pages 973-1007.
    14. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1992. "Earnings uncertainty and precautionary saving," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 307-337, November.
    15. Rolf Aaberge & Yu Zhu, 2001. "The Pattern of Household Savings During a Hyperinflation: The Case of Urban China in the Late 1980s," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 47(2), pages 181-202, June.
    16. Christina D. Romer, 1990. "The Great Crash and the Onset of the Great Depression," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(3), pages 597-624.
    17. Dennis Tao Yang & Junsen Zhang & Shaojie Zhou, 2012. "Why Are Saving Rates So High in China?," NBER Chapters, in: Capitalizing China, pages 249-278, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Paul A. Samuelson, 2011. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection by Dynamic Stochastic Programming," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Leonard C MacLean & Edward O Thorp & William T Ziemba (ed.),THE KELLY CAPITAL GROWTH INVESTMENT CRITERION THEORY and PRACTICE, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 465-472, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    19. Nicholas Bloom, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, May.
    20. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 2002. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 47-89, January.
    21. Lusardi, Annamaria, 1997. "Precautionary saving and subjective earnings variance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 319-326, December.
    22. Stephen P. Zeldes, 1989. "Optimal Consumption with Stochastic Income: Deviations from Certainty Equivalence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 275-298.
    23. Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley, 2009. "Shocks, Stocks, and Socks: Smoothing Consumption Over a Temporary Income Loss," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(6), pages 1169-1192, December.
    24. Merton, Robert C, 1969. "Lifetime Portfolio Selection under Uncertainty: The Continuous-Time Case," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(3), pages 247-257, August.
    25. Loren Brandt & Xiaodong Zhu, 2000. "Redistribution in a Decentralized Economy: Growth and Inflation in China under Reform," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 422-451, April.
    26. Chamon, Marcos & Liu, Kai & Prasad, Eswar, 2013. "Income uncertainty and household savings in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 164-177.
    27. Christopher D. Carroll & Andrew A. Samwick, 1998. "How Important Is Precautionary Saving?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(3), pages 410-419, August.
    28. Jonathan A. Parker, 1999. "The Reaction of Household Consumption to Predictable Changes in Social Security Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 959-973, September.
    29. Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "The Buffer-Stock Theory of Saving: Some Macroeconomic Evidence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 61-156.
    30. Skinner, Jonathan, 1988. "Risky income, life cycle consumption, and precautionary savings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 237-255, September.
    31. Erik Hurst & Christopher Foote & John Leahy, 2000. "Testing the (S, s) Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 116-119, May.
    32. Karen E. Dynan, 1993. "How prudent are consumers?," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 135, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), revised 1993.
    33. Carroll, Christopher D. & Samwick, Andrew A., 1997. "The nature of precautionary wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 41-71, September.
    34. Francesco Giavazzi & Michael McMahon, 2012. "Policy Uncertainty and Household Savings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(2), pages 517-531, May.
    35. Feltenstein, Andrew & Ha, Jiming, 1991. "Measurement of repressed inflation in China : The lack of coordination between monetary policy and price controls," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 279-294, October.
    36. Dynan, Karen E, 1993. "How Prudent Are Consumers?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 1104-1113, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Giesing, Yvonne & Musić, Almedina, 2019. "Household behaviour in times of political change: Evidence from Egypt," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 259-276.
    2. Ngasuko, Tri Achya, 2018. "Faktor Yang Mempengaruhi Rumah Tangga Untuk Mengakses Lembaga Keuangan Formal: Studi Kasus Susenas 2015
      [Determinant Factor For Household To Access Formal Financial Institution: The Study Case Suse
      ," MPRA Paper 97995, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Dung Viet Tran, 2020. "Policy uncertainty and bank lending," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 40(2), pages 952-977.
    4. Marina Malkina, 2019. "Determinants of Private Savings in the Form of Bank Deposits: A Case Study on Regions of the Russian Federation," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(2), pages 1-22, June.
    5. Steven J. Davis, 2019. "Rising Policy Uncertainty," NBER Working Papers 26243, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Economides, Philip & McQuinn, Kieran & O'Toole, Conor, 2019. "Household savings constraints, uncertainty and macroprudential policy," Papers WP618, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    China; household savings; uncertainty;

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:793. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (L Maasø). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/ssbgvno.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.