IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

What Determines the Saving Behavior of German Households? An Examination of Saving Motives and Saving Decisions

  • Schunk, Daniel


    (University of Zürich Institute for Empirical Research in Economics)

Many motives for saving a portion of one’s income co-exist and their relative importance changes over the life-cycle. However, most existing work focuses on only one of those motives and makes simplifying assumptions about the other motives so that they can be relegated to the background. All the more it is important to investigate heterogeneity in saving behavior in the presence of various co-existing saving motives. This paper is concerned with linking heterogeneity in German households’ savings decisions to four coexisting saving motives. First, I find that the importance that households attach to the saving motives is related to how much households save at different life stages. Second, I classify the saver type of the households based on whether they engage in regular savings plans, or rather save irregularly and without a savings plan and I find that saving motives are related to the saver type of the household. The results show that heterogeneity in saving behavior along two dimensions – with respect to the saving rate and the saver type – is systematically related to the importance that households attach to different saving motives. This suggests that policy reforms that change the importance of certain saving motives in the eyes of private households might alter household saving behavior in various ways.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim in its series Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications with number 07-10.

in new window

Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: 31 May 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:xrs:sfbmaa:07-10
Note: Financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, SFB 504, at the University of Mannheim, is gratefully acknowledged.
Contact details of provider: Postal:
D-68131 Mannheim

Phone: (49) (0) 621-292-2547
Fax: (49) (0) 621-292-5594
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Web page:

Order Information: Email:

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. Chesher, Andrew & Irish, Margaret, 1987. "Residual analysis in the grouped and censored normal linear model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 33-61.
  2. McFadden, Daniel, 1999. "Rationality for Economists?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 19(1-3), pages 73-105, December.
  3. Jonathan S. Skinner, 1987. "Risky Income, Life Cycle Consumption, and Precautionary Savings," NBER Working Papers 2336, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Luca Rigotti & Matthew Ryan & Rhema Vaithianathan, 2001. "Entrepreneurial Innovation," GE, Growth, Math methods 0103002, EconWPA.
  5. Binswanger, Johannes, 2007. "Risk management of pensions from the perspective of loss aversion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 641-667, April.
  6. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1996. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1797-1855, December.
  7. Mirer, Thad W, 1979. "The Wealth-Age Relation among the Aged," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(3), pages 435-43, June.
  8. Essig, Lothar & Winter, Joachim, 2005. "Item nonresponse to financial questions in household surveys : an experimental study of interviewer and mode effects," Papers 05-18, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
  9. Annamaria Lusardi, 2000. "Precautionary Saving and the Accumulation of Wealth," Working Papers 0012, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  10. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1994. "Housing finance arrangements, intergenerational transfers and consumption : The Italian experience," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 145-155, April.
  11. Kessler, Denis & Masson, Andre, 1989. "Bequest and Wealth Accumulation: Are Some Pieces of the Puzzle Missing?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 141-52, Summer.
  12. Lothar Essig, 2005. "Methodological aspects of the SAVE data set," MEA discussion paper series 05080, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  13. Hurd, Michael, 1979. "Estimation in truncated samples when there is heteroscedasticity," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2-3), pages 247-258.
  14. Essig, Lothar, 2005. "Methodological aspects of the SAVE data set," Papers 05-17, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
  15. Leung, S.F., 1992. "Uncertain Lifetime, the Theory of the Consumer, and the Life Cycle Hypothesis," RCER Working Papers 323, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  16. Chiuri, Maria Concetta & Jappelli, Tullio, 2001. "Financial Market Imperfections and Home Ownership: A Comparative Study," CEPR Discussion Papers 2717, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Gourinchas, P.O. & Parker, J.A., 1997. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," Working papers 9722, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  18. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1992. "Earnings uncertainty and precautionary saving," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 307-337, November.
  19. Hurd, Michael D, 1990. "Research on the Elderly: Economic Status, Retirement, and Consumption and Saving," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 565-637, June.
  20. Christopher D. Carroll, 1992. "The Buffer-Stock Theory of Saving: Some Macroeconomic Evidence," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 61-156.
  21. Börsch-Supan, Axel H. & Heiss, Florian & Winter, Joachim, . "Akzeptanzprobleme bei Rentenreformen: Wie die Bevölkerung überzeugt werden kann," Monographs in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics, number 20198, December.
  22. Mark Kazarosian, 1997. "Precautionary Savings-A Panel Study," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 241-247, May.
  23. Annamaria Lusardi & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2006. "Financial Literacy and Planning: Implications for Retirement Wellbeing," DNB Working Papers 078, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  24. Paarsch, Harry J., 1984. "A Monte Carlo comparison of estimators for censored regression models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 197-213.
  25. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 706-32, August.
  26. Davies, James B, 1981. "Uncertain Lifetime, Consumption, and Dissaving in Retirement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(3), pages 561-77, June.
  27. R Alessie & A Kapteyn, 2001. "New data for understanding saving," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 55-69, Spring.
  28. Train,Kenneth E., 2009. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521747387, September.
  29. McFadden, Daniel, 1987. "Regression-based specification tests for the multinomial logit model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 63-82.
  30. D. McFadden & J. Hausman, 1981. "Specification Tests for the Multinominal Logit Model," Working papers 292, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  31. Weil, David N., 1991. "What determines savings? : A review essay," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 161-170, August.
  32. Christopher D. Carroll, 1997. "Buffer-Stock Saving and the Life Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 1-55.
  33. Horioka, Charles Yuji & Watanabe, Wako, 1997. "Why Do People Save? A Micro-Analysis of Motives for Household Saving in Japan," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(442), pages 537-52, May.
  34. Milton Friedman, 1957. "Introduction to "A Theory of the Consumption Function"," NBER Chapters, in: A Theory of the Consumption Function, pages 1-6 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  35. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1987. "Intergenerational Transfers and Savings," NBER Working Papers 2237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  36. Alessie, Rob & Lusardi, Annamaria & Kapteyn, Arie, 1999. "Saving after retirement: evidence from three different surveys," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 277-310, June.
  37. Alessie, Rob & Lusardi, Annamaria, 1997. "Saving and income smoothing: Evidence from panel data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(7), pages 1251-1279, July.
  38. Buchinsky, Moshe, 1994. "Changes in the U.S. Wage Structure 1963-1987: Application of Quantile Regression," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 405-58, March.
  39. McDonald, James B. & Xu, Yexiao J., 1996. "A comparison of semi-parametric and partially adaptive estimators of the censored regression model with possibly skewed and leptokurtic error distributions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 153-159, May.
  40. Börsch-Supan, Axel & Reil-Held, Anette & Rodepeter, Ralf & Schnabel, Reinhold & Winter, Joachim, 1999. "Ersparnisbildung in Deutschland: Meßkonzepte und Ergebnisse auf Basis der EVS," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 99-02, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  41. Nikolaus Bartzsch, 2008. "Precautionary Saving and Income Uncertainty in Germany – New Evidence from Microdata," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 228(1), pages 5-24, February.
  42. Menchik, Paul L & David, Martin, 1983. "Income Distribution, Lifetime Savings, and Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 672-90, September.
  43. Lusardi, Annamaria, 1998. "On the Importance of the Precautionary Saving Motive," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 449-53, May.
  44. Alessie, Rob & Lusardi, Annamaria & Aldershof, Trea, 1997. "Income and Wealth over the Life Cycle: Evidence from Panel Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 43(1), pages 1-32, March.
  45. Laurence J. Kotlikoff (ed.), 2001. "Essays on Saving, Bequests, Altruism, and Life-Cycle Planning," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262112620, December.
  46. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1, September.
  47. Powell, James L., 1984. "Least absolute deviations estimation for the censored regression model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 303-325, July.
  48. Hurd, Michael D, 1987. "Savings of the Elderly and Desired Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 298-312, June.
  49. Moriizumi, Yoko, 2003. "Targeted saving by renters for housing purchase in Japan," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 494-509, May.
  50. Hayashi, Fumio & Ito, Takatoshi & Slemrod, Joel, 1988. "Housing finance imperfections, taxation, and private saving: A comparative simulation analysis of the United States and Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 215-238, September.
  51. Artle, Roland & Varaiya, Pravin, 1978. "Life cycle consumption and homeownership," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 38-58, June.
  52. Axel Börsch-Supan & Anette Reil-Held & Ralf Rodepeter & Reinhold Schnabel & University of Mannheim & Germany, 2000. "Household Savings in Germany," Macroeconomics 0004053, EconWPA.
  53. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2003. "Wealth Accumulation and the Propensity to Plan," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1007-1047.
  54. Menahem E. Yaari, 1965. "Uncertain Lifetime, Life Insurance, and the Theory of the Consumer," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(2), pages 137-150.
  55. Caballero, Ricardo J, 1991. "Earnings Uncertainty and Aggregate Wealth Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 859-71, September.
  56. Michael G. Palumbo, 1999. "Uncertain Medical Expenses and Precautionary Saving Near the End of the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 395-421.
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:xrs:sfbmaa:07-10. 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: (Carsten Schmidt)

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.