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Housing prices and the high Chinese saving rate puzzle
China?s over 25% aggregate household saving rate is one of the highest in the world. One popular view attributes the high saving rate to fast-rising housing prices in China. However, cross-sectional data do not show a significant relationship between housing prices and household saving rates. This article uses a simple consumption-saving model to explain why rising housing prices per se cannot explain China?s high household saving rate. Although borrowing constraints and demographic changes can translate housing prices to the aggregate saving rate, quantitative simulations of our model using ...
The determinants of household saving in China: a dynamic panel analysis of provincial data
In this paper, we conduct a dynamic panel analysis of the determinants of the household saving rate in China using a life cycle model and panel data on Chinese provinces for the 1995-2004 period from China's household survey. We find that China's household saving rate has been high and rising and that the main determinants of variations over time and over space therein are the lagged saving rate, the income growth rate, and (in some cases) the real interest rate and the inflation rate. However, we find that the variables relating to the age structure of the population usually do not have a ...
Making sense of China’s astronomical foreign reserves
The current global-imbalance literature (which explains why capital flows from poor to rich countries) cannot explain China?s foreign asset positions because capital cannot flow out of China under capital controls. A related but deeper puzzle that this literature fails to address is China?s high saving rate despite an astonishingly rapid income growth rate. This paper argues that understanding China?s massive foreign reserves must start with a basic trade model (e.g., Melitz, 2003) in which a growing trade volume is driven by an elastic labor supply and rapid productivity growth. Imbalanced ...
Why do Chinese households save so much?