IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/zbw/cfswop/200615.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Disentangling the importance of the precautionary saving motive

Author

Listed:
  • Kennickell, Arthur
  • Lusardi, Annamaria

Abstract

We evaluate the importance of the precautionary saving motive by relying on a direct question about precautionary wealth from the 1995 and 1998 waves of the Survey of Consumer Finances. In this survey, a new question has been designed to elicit the amount of desired precautionary wealth. This allows us to assess the amount of precautionary accumulation and to overcome many of the problems of previous works on this topic. We find that a precautionary saving motive exists and affects virtually every type of household. However, precautionary savings account for only 8 percent of total wealth holdings. Even though this motive does not give rise to large amounts of wealth, particularly for young and middle-age households, it is particularly important for two groups: older households and business owners. Overall, we provide strong evidence that we need to take the precautionary saving motive into account when modeling saving behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Kennickell, Arthur & Lusardi, Annamaria, 2005. "Disentangling the importance of the precautionary saving motive," CFS Working Paper Series 2006/15, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:200615
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/25481/1/515354015.PDF
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1995. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Christopher D. Carroll & Karen E. Dynan & Spencer D. Krane, 2003. "Unemployment Risk and Precautionary Wealth: Evidence from Households' Balance Sheets," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 586-604, August.
    3. Mark Kazarosian, 1997. "Precautionary Savings-A Panel Study," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 241-247, May.
    4. Venti, Steven F. & Wise, David A., 1991. "Aging and the income value of housing wealth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 371-397.
    5. Davies, James B, 1981. "Uncertain Lifetime, Consumption, and Dissaving in Retirement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(3), pages 561-577, June.
    6. Lusardi, Annamaria, 1997. "Precautionary saving and subjective earnings variance," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 319-326, December.
    7. Erik Hurst & Annamaria Lusardi, 2004. "Liquidity Constraints, Household Wealth, and Entrepreneurship," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 319-347, April.
    8. Irvine, Ian & Wang, Susheng, 2001. "Saving behavior and wealth accumulation in a pure lifecycle model with income uncertainty," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 233-258, February.
    9. Stefan Hochguertel, 2003. "Precautionary motives and portfolio decisions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 61-77.
    10. Arthur B. Kennickell & Martha Starr-McCluer & Annika E. Sunden, 1997. "Family finances in the U.S.: recent evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-24.
    11. 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.
    12. Engen, Eric M. & Gruber, Jonathan, 2001. "Unemployment insurance and precautionary saving," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 545-579, June.
    13. Skinner, Jonathan, 1988. "Risky income, life cycle consumption, and precautionary savings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 237-255, September.
    14. Horioka, C.Y., 1991. "Saving in Japan," ISER Discussion Paper 0248, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    15. Kennickell, Arthur B & Woodburn, R Louise, 1999. "Consistent Weight Design for the 1989, 1992 and 1995 SCFs, and the Distribution of Wealth," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 45(2), pages 193-215, June.
    16. Caballero, Ricardo J., 1990. "Consumption puzzles and precautionary savings," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 113-136, January.
    17. Starr-McCluer, Martha, 1996. "Health Insurance and Precautionary Savings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 285-295, March.
    18. 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.
    19. Arthur B. Kennickell & Martha Starr-McCluer & Brian J. Surette, 2000. "Recent changes in U. S. family finances: results from the 1998 Survey of Consumer Finances," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-29.
    20. Cagetti, Marco, 2003. "Wealth Accumulation over the Life Cycle and Precautionary Savings," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 21(3), pages 339-353, July.
    21. Sule Alan, 2004. "Precautionary Wealth and Portfolio Allocation: Evidence from Canadian Microdata," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 117, McMaster University.
    22. John Heaton & Deborah Lucas, 2000. "Portfolio Choice and Asset Prices: The Importance of Entrepreneurial Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(3), pages 1163-1198, June.
    23. Dreze, Jacques H. & Modigliani, Franco, 1972. "Consumption decisions under uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 308-335, December.
    24. 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.
    25. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Tokuoka, Kiichi, 2013. "Saving response to unemployment of a sibling," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 58-75.
    2. He, Hui & Huang, Feng & Liu, Zheng & Zhu, Dongming, 2014. "Breaking the “Iron Rice Bowl” and Precautionary Swings: Evidence from Chinese State-Owned Enterprises Reform," Working Paper Series 2014-4, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, revised 14 Feb 2017.
    3. Filippo Pericoli & Luigi Ventura, 2012. "Family dissolution and precautionary savings: an empirical analysis," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 573-595, December.
    4. Laura Bartiloro & Cristiana Rampazzi, 2013. "Italian households� saving and wealth during the crisis," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 148, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    5. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Zvi Hercowitz, 2009. "Liquidity constraints of the middle class," Working Paper Series WP-09-20, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    6. Camilo Mondragón-Vélez & Ximena Peña, 2010. "Business Ownership and Self-Employment in Developing Economies: The Colombian Case," NBER Chapters,in: International Differences in Entrepreneurship, pages 89-127 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Andrea Brandolini & Silvia Magri & Timothy M. Smeeding, 2010. "Asset-based measurement of poverty," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(2), pages 267-284.
    8. Lothar Essig, 2005. "Precautionary saving and old-age provisions: Do subjective saving motive measures work?," MEA discussion paper series 05084, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    9. Wako Watanabe, 2005. "Income Uncertainty and Self-Reported Precautionary Wealth: Evidence from the Japanese Micro Data," ISER Discussion Paper 0636, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    10. Brown, Sarah & Ghosh, Pulak & Pareek, Bhuvanesh & Taylor, Karl, 2017. "Financial Hardship and Saving Behaviour: Bayesian Analysis of British Panel Data," IZA Discussion Papers 10910, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Paolo Melindi Ghidi, 2005. "A Model for Determining Consumption and Social Assistance Demand in Uncertainty Conditions," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 95(6), pages 167-198, November-.
    12. Reichling, Felix, 2006. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Labor Market Equilibrium when Workers can Self-Insure," MPRA Paper 5362, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 16 Oct 2007.
    13. Schunk Daniel, 2009. "What Determines Household Saving Behavior: An Examination of Saving Motives and Saving Decisions 06.01.2009," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 229(4), pages 467-491, August.
    14. Essig, Lothar, 2004. "Precautionary saving and old-age provisions: Do subjective saving motives measures work?," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 05-22, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk; Buffer-stock Models of Saving; Old Cohorts Wealth; Business Owners Wealth;

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:200615. 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: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/ifkcfde.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.