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Precautionary savings and the importance of business owners

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  • Hurst, Erik
  • Kennickell, Arthur
  • Lusardi, Annamaria
  • Torralba, Francisco

Abstract

In this paper, we show the pivotal role business owners play in estimating the importance of the precautionary saving motive. The fact that business owners hold higher-than-average wealth while facing higher income risk than other households leads to a correlation between wealth and labor income risk regardless of whether or not a precautionary motive is important. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics in the 1980s and the 1990s, we show that within separate samples of both business owners and non-business owners the size of precautionary savings with respect to labor income risk is modest and accounts for less than ten percent of total household wealth. However, pooling together these two groups leads to an artificially high estimate of the importance of precautionary savings. Data from the Survey of Consumer Finances further confirms that precautionary savings account for less than ten percent of total wealth for both business owners and non-business owners. Thus, while a precautionary saving motive exists and affects all households, it does not give rise to high amounts of wealth in the economy, particularly among those households who face the most volatile labor earnings.

Suggested Citation

  • Hurst, Erik & Kennickell, Arthur & Lusardi, Annamaria & Torralba, Francisco, 2006. "Precautionary savings and the importance of business owners," CFS Working Paper Series 2006/16, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:200616
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    Cited by:

    1. Clovis Kerdrain & Isabell Koske & Isabelle Wanner, 2011. "Current Account Imbalances: can Structural Reforms Help to Reduce Them?," OECD Journal: Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2011(1), pages 1-44.
    2. Schunk, Daniel, 2007. "What determines the saving behavior of German households? : an examination of saving motives and saving decisions," Papers 07-10, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    3. Kennickell, Arthur & Lusardi, Annamaria, 2005. "Disentangling the importance of the precautionary saving motive," CFS Working Paper Series 2006/15, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    4. De Andrés Mosquera, Andrés, 2017. "Los determinantes a largo plazo y su contribución a la tasa de ahorro de los hogares españoles en el período 1985-2016 || Long-term determinants and its contribution to Spanish household saving rate d," Revista de Métodos Cuantitativos para la Economía y la Empresa = Journal of Quantitative Methods for Economics and Business Administration, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Quantitative Methods for Economics and Business Administration, vol. 24(1), pages 292-339, Diciembre.
    5. Luc Arrondel & Hector Calvo Pardo, 2008. "Les Français sont-ils prudents ? Patrimoine et risque sur les revenus des ménages," PSE Working Papers halshs-00585994, HAL.
    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. Lusardi, Annamaria & Mitchell, Olivia S., 2007. "Baby Boomer retirement security: The roles of planning, financial literacy, and housing wealth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 205-224, January.
    8. Christopher D. Carroll & Miles S. Kimball, 2006. "Precautionary Saving and Precautionary Wealth," Economics Working Paper Archive 530, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
    9. Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula & Luigi Pistaferri, 2008. "A Direct Test of The Buffer-Stock Model of Saving," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(6), pages 1186-1210, December.
    10. Marcus Klemm, 2012. "Job Security Perceptions and the Saving Behavior of German Households," Ruhr Economic Papers 0380, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    11. Marco Percoco, 2015. "Homeownership and saving preferences: evidence from Italy," Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 141-149, July.
    12. Amber Remble & Maria Marshall & Roman Keeney, 2014. "Household Saving Behavior and the Influence of Family-Owned Business," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 411-422, September.
    13. repec:zbw:rwirep:0380 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Clovis Kerdrain & Isabell Koske & Isabelle Wanner, 2010. "The Impact of Structural Policies on Saving, Investment and Current Accounts," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 815, OECD Publishing.
    15. Klemm, Marcus, 2012. "Job Security Perceptions and the Saving Behavior of German Households," Ruhr Economic Papers 380, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    16. 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.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Income Risk; Household Wealth; Entrepreneurship;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making

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