Saving and Financial Planning: Some Findings from a Focus Group
This paper summarizes the results of a focus group on saving and financial planning. The group consisted of eight individuals with relatively high income and wealth. The savings behavior of such people is of interest partly due to their large contribution to total personal saving. The participants expressed concerns about how their circumstances will change as they age, and about uncertainties in income and health. While these concerns are consistent with theories emphasizing life-cycle and precautionary motives, the idea that saving involves self-control was also mentioned repeatedly.
Family finances in the U.S.: recent evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances
Using data that have just become available from the 1995 Survey of Consumer Finances along with data from the 1989 and 1992 versions of the survey, this article provides a detailed picture of recent changes in the income, net worth, assets, and liabilities of U.S. families. It also presents information on families' saving, unrealized capital gains, debt payments, and institutional providers of credit. Of the developments the article reports, a few are particularly noteworthy. First, between the 1992 and 1995 surveys, both median family income and median family net worth rose in constant ...
Market definition and the analysis of antitrust in banking
In antitrust analysis of bank mergers, banking markets are viewed as geographically local, with a "cluster" of products as the relevant product line. This view is criticized as outdated, now that many bank products are offered by nonbank institutions and financial institutions' operations are increasingly national in scope. This paper reexamines the question of market definition in banking, using two micro data sets uniquely well-suited to the task. We find that local depositories remain the dominant supplier of key financial services to households and small businesses, with geographic ...
Health insurance and precautionary saving
Market definition in banking: recent evidence
Antitrust analysis of bank mergers defines banking markets to be geographically local and to consist of the cluster of financial products supplied by commercial banks. This definition is based on assumptions about households' and small businesses' behavior in purchasing banking services. This article utilizes data from the Survey of Consumer Finances to examine how households' use of financial services and institutions changed between 1989 and 1998. We investigate the extent to which households still focus their purchases of financial services at local depository institutions, as opposed to ...
Technology, capital spending, and capacity utilization
This paper examines the relationships between technology, capital spending, and capacity utilization. Recent technological changes have increased the flexibility of relationships between inputs and outputs in manufacturing, which may have eroded the predictive value of the utilization rate. This paper considers how technology might be expected to affect utilization. We show that recent changes could either lower average utilization by making it cheaper to hold excess capacity, or raise utilization by making further changes in capacity less costly and time-consuming. We then examine the ...
Household saving and portfolio change: evidence from the 1983-89 SCF panel
There are very few sources of high-quality data on the dynamics of wealth accumulation. This paper uses newly-available data from the 1983-89 panel of the Survey of Consumer Finances to examine household saving and portfolio change over the 1980s. The 1983 SCF collected detailed information on households' assets, liabilities, income and other characteristics for a sample of 4,103 families. In 1989, 1,479 of these families were re-interviewed using a similar questionnaire. After describing the sample and methodology of the panel survey, we analyze changes in household wealth over the 1983-89 ...
Recent trends in compensation practices
According to some accounts, compensation practices have recently been undergoing marked changes, with an increasing number of firms said to be substituting lump-sum payments for regular pay increases, allowing for greater variability of remuneration across individuals or groups, and making greater use of profit sharing or stock options. Many of these practices are outside the scope of the typical measures of economy-wide compensation growth. Moreover, intensified use of these schemes ought to heighten the responsiveness of overall compensation costs to business conditions and could also, in ...
The replacement demand for motor vehicles: evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances
The motor vehicle industry has undergone important changes in recent years, including a shift in production from autos to light trucks and growth of vehicle leasing. This paper uses household-level data from the Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances to document changes in households' acquisitions and financing of motor vehicles from 1989 to 2001. We examine what types of vehicles households had, what financing arrangements were used to acquire them, and how vehicle holdings vary with such household characteristics as income, age, wealth, and creditworthiness. The data provide useful ...