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Household Saving, Financial Constraints, and the Current Account in China

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  • Ayşe İmrohoroğlu

    (University of Southern California)

  • Kai Zhao

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

In this paper, we present a model economy that can account for the changes in the current account balance in China since the early 2000s. Our results suggest that the increase in the household saving rate and tighter financial constraints facing the firms played equally important roles in the increase in the current account surplus until 2008. We argue that inadequate insurance through government programs for the elderly and the decline in family insurance due to the one-child policy led to the increase in the household saving rate especially after 2000 as more and more families with only one child entered the economy. The increase in the saving rate coupled with the financial frictions preventing the increased household saving from being invested in domestic firms resulted in large current account surpluses until 2008. Our results also indicate that the decline in the current account surplus since 2008 was likely to be due to the relaxation of financial constraints facing domestic firms, which was a result of the large-scale fiscal stimulus plan launched by the Chinese government after 2008. These findings imply that the planned increases in China’s public pension coverage are likely to reduce the future current account balances. On the other hand, if financial constraints are tightened back to the pre-stimulus levels; the current account surplus may rise again.

Suggested Citation

  • Ayşe İmrohoroğlu & Kai Zhao, 2018. "Household Saving, Financial Constraints, and the Current Account in China," Working papers 2018-15, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2018-15
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Dotsey & Wenli Li & Fang Yang, 2019. "Demographic Aging, Industrial Policy, and Chinese Economic Growth," Working Papers 19-21, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    2. Michael Dotsey, 2019. "Demographic Aging, Industrial Policy, and Chinese Economic Growth," 2019 Meeting Papers 640, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Sarah Chan, 2019. "China’s Narrowing Current Account Surplus: Evolving Trends and Policy Implications," Economic Alternatives, University of National and World Economy, Sofia, Bulgaria, issue 3, pages 345-359, September.
    4. İmrohoroğlu, Ayşe & Zhao, Kai, 2018. "The chinese saving rate: Long-term care risks, family insurance, and demographics," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 33-52.
    5. Ayşe İmrohoroğlu & Kai Zhao, 2020. "Rising Wealth Inequality: Intergenerational Links, Entrepreneurship, and the Decline in Interest Rate," Working papers 2020-13, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - General
    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)

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