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Regional Differences in Growth Rates: A Microdata Approach


  • Luca Pieroni


  • David Aristei



The aim of the present study is to analyse the dynamics of regional consumption and income to explain two significant empirical evidences that have characterized Italian economy in the last two decades: (i) the fall in private saving rate; (ii) the persistence of a wide gap between consumption and income levels of Central-Northern and Southern areas of Italy. The theoretical framework adopted to investigate the effects of economic growth on saving is based on the life cycle hypothesis (LCH) (Modigliani and Brumberg, 1954). As highlighted by recent empirical works, the effect of economic growth on individual saving rates strictly depends on how labour income is affected by growth (Deaton and Paxson, 2000). In this study, we provide a measure of the impact of productivity changes across generations both at the aggregate level and among regions, by tracking income and consumption behaviours of cohorts of households. Moreover, working with household rather than individual data, we adopt an appropriate equivalence scale in order to account for the different resources and needs of each family member; this problem is particularly significant for countries like Italy, in which the presence of multigenerational household is common. The empirical analysis is based on a series of repeated cross-sections of the Bank of Italy’s Survey of Household Income and Wealth (SHIW) for the period 1989-2002 and consists in the decomposition of the cohort, age and time effects of household’s income and consumption along the line of the works of Attanasio (1998), Jappelli and Modigliani (1998), Jappelli (1999) and Kapteyn et al. (2005). The results obtained in the benchmark model show an increase in the productivity of younger generations in the Central and Northern regions together with a positive and increasing age profile for consumption, while in the South the results are floating. The basic model is successively extended by including the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the household. From the sensitivity estimations, it clearly emerges that household composition, working status and education levels significantly affect income fluctuations in the South, playing an active role in determining the persistency of growth rate differences among regions.

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  • Luca Pieroni & David Aristei, 2006. "Regional Differences in Growth Rates: A Microdata Approach," ERSA conference papers ersa06p799, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa06p799

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Banks, James & Blundell, Richard & Tanner, Sarah, 1998. "Is There a Retirement-Savings Puzzle?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 769-788, September.
    2. Kapteyn, Arie & Alessie, Rob & Lusardi, Annamaria, 2005. "Explaining the wealth holdings of different cohorts: Productivity growth and Social Security," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(5), pages 1361-1391, July.
    3. Deaton, Angus, 1985. "Panel data from time series of cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 109-126.
    4. Raffaelle Miniaci & Chiara Monfardini & Guglielmo Weber, 2003. "Is there a retirement consumption puzzle in Italy?," IFS Working Papers W03/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    5. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 2000. "Growth and Saving Among Individuals and Households," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(2), pages 212-225, May.
    6. Deaton, Angus & Paxson, Christina, 1994. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 437-467, June.
    7. Orazio P. Attanasio, 1998. "Cohort Analysis of Saving Behavior by U.S. Households," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(3), pages 575-609.
    8. Orazio P. Attanasio, 1993. "A Cohort Analysis of Saving Behavior by U.S. Households," NBER Working Papers 4454, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Tullio Jappelli, 2005. "The life-cycle hypothesis, fiscal policy and social security," BNL Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 58(233-234), pages 173-186.
    10. B. Douglas Bernheim & Jonathan Skinner & Steven Weinberg, 2001. "What Accounts for the Variation in Retirement Wealth among U.S. Households?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 832-857, September.
    11. Jappelli, Tullio, 1999. "The Age-Wealth Profile and the Life-Cycle Hypothesis: A Cohort Analysis with Time Series of Cross-Sections of Italian Households," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 45(1), pages 57-75, March.
    12. John K Gibson & Grant M Scobie, 2001. "Household Saving Behaviour in New Zealand: A Cohort Analysis," Treasury Working Paper Series 01/18, New Zealand Treasury.
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