IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Saving Puzzles and Saving Policies in the United States

  • Annamaria Lusardi
  • Jonathan Skinner
  • Steven F. Venti

In the past two decades the widely reported personal saving rate in the United States has dropped from double digits to below zero. First, we attempt to account for the decline in the National Income and ProductAccounts (NIPA) saving rate. The macroeconomic literature suggests that about half of the drop since 1988 can be attributed to households spending stock market capital gains. Another thirty percent is accounting transfers from personal saving into government and corporate saving because of the way pensions and capital gains taxes are treated in the NIPA. Second, while NIPA saving measures are well suited for measuring the supply of new funds for investment and capital accumulation, it is not clear that they should be the target of government saving policies. Finally, we emphasize that the NIPA saving rate is not useful in judging whether households are preparing for retirement or other contingencies. Many households have accumulated significant wealth, primarily through retirement saving vehicles and capital gains, even as the saving rate slid. There remains a segment of the population, however, who save little and whose behavior appears untouched either by the stock market boom or the slide in personal saving. We explore reasons and policy options for their puzzlingly low saving rate.

To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
1. Check below under "Related research" whether another version of this item is available online.
2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

Paper provided by Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research in its series JCPR Working Papers with number 220.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 04 Apr 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:220
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, 1155 E. 60th Street Chicago, IL 60637

Phone: 773-702-0472
Web page: http://www.jcpr.org/wp/ByDate.html
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "Participation and Investment Decisions in a Retirement Plan: The Influence of Colleagues' Choices," NBER Working Papers 7735, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1995. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 360-99, April.
  3. Martha Starr-McCluer, 2002. "Stock Market Wealth and Consumer Spending," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(1), pages 69-79, January.
  4. James M. Poterba & Andrew A. Samwick, 1995. "Stock Ownership Patterns, Stock Market Fluctuations, and Consumption," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 295-372.
  5. Skinner, Jonathan, 1996. "The dynamic efficiency cost of not taxing housing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 397-417, March.
  6. Karen E. Dynan & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2004. "Do the Rich Save More?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 397-444, April.
  7. Jonathan Gruber & Aaron Yelowitz, 1997. "Public Health Insurance and Private Savings," UCLA Economics Working Papers 772, UCLA Department of Economics.
  8. B. Douglas Bernheim & John B. Shoven, 1985. "Pension Funding and Saving," NBER Working Papers 1622, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Gustman, Alan L. & Steinmeier, Thomas L., 1999. "Effects of pensions on savings: analysis with data from the health and retirement study," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 271-324, June.
  10. Annamaria Lusardi, 2000. "Explaining Why So Many Households Do Not Save," Working Papers 0001, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  11. Jonathan A. Parker, 2000. "Spendthrift in America? On Two Decades of Decline in the U.S. Saving Rate," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1999, Volume 14, pages 317-387 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Thaler, Richard H & Shefrin, H M, 1981. "An Economic Theory of Self-Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 392-406, April.
  13. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1996. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Discussion Papers 96-01, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  14. Flint Brayton & Peter A. Tinsley, 1996. "A guide to FRB/US: a macroeconomic model of the United States," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 96-42, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. Smith, J.P., 1996. "Racial and Ethnic Differences in Wealth in the Health and Retirement Study," Papers 96-12, RAND - Reprint Series.
  16. Sydney Ludvigson & Charles Steindel, 1999. "How important is the stock market effect on consumption?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Jul, pages 29-51.
  17. Akerlof, George A, 1991. "Procrastination and Obedience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 1-19, May.
  18. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura, 1995. "Understanding why high income households save more than low income households," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 106, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  19. B. Douglas Bernheim & Daniel M. Garrett, 1996. "The Determinants and Consequences of Financial Education in the Workplace: Evidence from a Survey of Households," NBER Working Papers 5667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. William G. Gale, 1994. "Public policies and private pension contributions," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 710-734.
  21. Brigitte C. Madrian & Dennis F. Shea, 2001. "The Power of Suggestion: Inertia in 401(k) Participation and Savings Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1149-1187.
  22. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1996. "How Retirement Saving Programs Increase Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 91-112, Fall.
  23. Bradford, D.F., 1990. "What Is National Saving?: Alternative Measures In Historical And International Context," Papers 54, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  24. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan S. Skinner, 1996. "Assessing the Effectiveness of Saving Incentives," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 53540, October.
  25. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan S. Skinner, 1996. "Assessing the Effectiveness of Saving Incentives," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 73-90, Fall.
  26. Barro, Robert J, 1989. "The Ricardian Approach to Budget Deficits," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 37-54, Spring.
  27. Maria Ward Otoo, 1999. "Consumer sentiment and the stock market," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-60, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  28. 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.
  29. Christopher D. Carroll, 1998. "Why Do the Rich Save So Much?," NBER Working Papers 6549, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John Sabelhaus, 1996. "Understanding the Postwar Decline in U.S. Saving: A Cohort Analysis," NBER Working Papers 5571, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Dean M. Maki, 2000. "The growth of consumer credit and the household debt service burden," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-12, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  32. Robert E. Hall, 2001. "The Stock Market and Capital Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1185-1202, December.
  33. James F. Moore & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1997. "Projected Retirement Wealth and Savings Adequacy in the Health and Retirement Study," NBER Working Papers 6240, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. Mark Casson (ed.), 1990. "Entrepreneurship," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 537.
  35. Sabelhaus, John, 2000. "Modeling IRA Accumulation and Withdrawals," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 865-76, December.
  36. Matthew Rabin & Ted O'Donoghue, 1999. "Doing It Now or Later," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 103-124, March.
  37. Thomas Holloway, 1989. "Present NIPA Saving Measures: Their Characteristics and Limitations," NBER Chapters, in: The Measurement of Saving, Investment, and Wealth, pages 21-100 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  38. Robert Carroll & Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Mark Rider & Harvey S. Rosen, 1998. "Entrepreneurs, Income Taxes, and Investment," NBER Working Papers 6374, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  39. Richard Peach & Charles Steindel, 2000. "A nation of spendthrifts? An analysis of trends in personal and gross saving," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 6(Sep).
  40. F. Thomas Juster & Joseph Lupton & James P. Smith & Frank Stafford, 2004. "Savings and Wealth; Then and Now," Labor and Demography 0403027, EconWPA.
  41. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  42. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Sarah Tanner, 1995. "Is there a retirement-savings puzzle?," IFS Working Papers W95/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  43. Lawrence Summers & Chris Carroll, 1987. "Why Is U.S. National Saving So Low?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(2), pages 607-642.
  44. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale, 2000. "The Effects of 401(k) Plans on Household Wealth: Differences Across Earnings Groups," NBER Working Papers 8032, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  45. David I. Laibson & Andrea Repetto & Jeremy Tobacman, 1998. "Self-Control and Saving for Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 91-196.
  46. William G. Gale, 1998. "The Effects of Pensions on Household Wealth: A Reevaluation of Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 706-723, August.
  47. Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1984. "Consumption during Retirement: The Missing Link in the Life Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 1-7, February.
  48. Venti, Steven F & Wise, David A, 1998. "The Cause of Wealth Dispersion at Retirement: Choice or Chance?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 185-91, May.
  49. Mark J. Warshawsky & John Ameriks, . "How Prepared Are Americans for Retirement?," Pension Research Council Working Papers 98-11, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
  50. Orazio Attanasio, 1993. "A cohort analysis of saving behaviour by US households," IFS Working Papers W93/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  51. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1996. "The Illusory Effects of Saving Incentives on Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 113-138, Fall.
  52. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & Cori R. Uccello, 1999. "The Adequacy of Retirement Saving," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 30(2), pages 65-188.
  53. James M. Poterba, 2000. "Stock Market Wealth and Consumption," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(2), pages 99-118, Spring.
  54. 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.
  55. Nicholas Barberis & Ming Huang & Tano Santos, 2001. "Prospect Theory and Asset Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 1-53.
  56. William M. Gentry & R. Glenn Hubbard, 2000. "Entrepreneurship and Household Saving," NBER Working Papers 7894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:220. 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: (Thomas Krichel)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.