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Precautionary Savings by Natives and Immigrants in Germany

  • Matloob Piracha

    ()

  • Yu Zhu

    ()

This paper analyses the savings behaviour of natives and immigrants in Germany. It is argued that uncertainty about future income and legal status (in case of immigrants) is a key component in the determination of the level of precautionary savings. Using the German dataset, we exploit a natural experiment arising from a change in the nationality law in Germany to estimate the importance of precautionary savings. Using difference-in-differences approach, we find a significant reduction in savings and remittances for immigrants after the easing of citizenship requirements, compared to the pre-reform period. Our parametric specification shows that introduction of the new nationality law reduces the marginal propensity to save gap between natives and immigrants by up to 80%. These findings suggest that much of the differences in terms of the savings behaviour between natives and immigrants are driven by the savings arising from the uncertainties about future income and legal status rather than cultural differences.

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File URL: ftp://ftp.ukc.ac.uk/pub/ejr/RePEc/ukc/ukcedp/0821.pdf
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Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Kent in its series Studies in Economics with number 0821.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ukc:ukcedp:0821
Contact details of provider: Postal: School of Economics, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NP
Phone: +44 (0)1227 827497
Web page: http://www.kent.ac.uk/economics/

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  1. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Susan Pozo, 2006. "Remittances as insurance: evidence from Mexican immigrants," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 227-254, June.
  2. Bauer, Thomas & Sinning, Mathias, 2005. "The Savings Behaviour of Temporary and Permanent Migrants in Germany," CEPR Discussion Papers 5102, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Carroll, Christopher D & Rhee, Byung-Kun & Rhee, Changyong, 1994. "Are There Cultural Effects on Saving? Some Cross-Sectional Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 685-99, August.
  4. Merkle, Lucie & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 1992. "Savings, remittances, and return migration," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 77-81, January.
  5. Galor, Oded & Stark, Oded, 1990. "Migrants' Savings, the Probability of Return Migration and Migrants' Performance," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 31(2), pages 463-67, May.
  6. Dustmann, Christian, 1997. "Return migration, uncertainty and precautionary savings," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 295-316, April.
  7. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes & Susan Pozo, 2002. "Precautionary Saving by Young Immigrants and Young Natives," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 48-71, July.
  8. Chiswick, Barry R, 1978. "The Effect of Americanization on the Earnings of Foreign-born Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 897-921, October.
  9. Karen E. Dynan & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2000. "Do the rich save more?," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-52, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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