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International Comparisons of Household Saving Rates and Hidden Income

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  • Herbert Walther

    () (Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economic and Business)

  • Alfred Stiassny

    () (Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economic and Business)

Abstract

In this paper, we argue that shadow activities and different levels of marketization of household production systematically distort international comparisons of aggregate gross household saving rates (HSRs): Higher shares of hidden income increase observed HSRs. Panel data for 18 (24) OECD-countries covering a period of a decade show that gross HSRs are positively related to the degree of corruption (used as a proxy for the propensity to shift economic activities into the shadow) and to the share of income from property and self employment. At the same time, gross HSRs are negatively related to the female employment rate, the ratio of indirect taxes to direct taxes, and to the tax wedge. One plausible story behind these phenomena might be that unobserved consumption and wages in the shadow labor market induce an upward bias in observed HSRs and profit shares, while the price level effects of a higher share of indirect taxes and a ‘welfare state’ effect lower observed HSRs.

Suggested Citation

  • Herbert Walther & Alfred Stiassny, 2013. "International Comparisons of Household Saving Rates and Hidden Income," Department of Economics Working Papers wuwp148, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwwuw:wuwp148
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard Blundell & Stephen Bond & Frank Windmeijer, 2000. "Estimation in dynamic panel data models: improving on the performance of the standard GMM estimator," IFS Working Papers W00/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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    4. Jeannine Bailliu & Helmut Reisen, 1998. "Do funded pensions contribute to higher aggregate savings? A cross-country analysis," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 134(4), pages 692-711, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    National Accounts; Saving Rate; Hidden Income; Shadow Economy; Corruption; Dynamic Panels;

    JEL classification:

    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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