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Precautionary Savings in the Great Recession

Ashoka Mody, Franziska Ohnsorge and Damiano Sandri ()

IMF Economic Review, 2012, vol. 60, issue 1, 114-138

Abstract: Heightened uncertainty since the onset of the Great Recession has materially increased saving rates, contributing to lower consumption and GDP growth. Consistent with a model of precautionary savings in the face of uncertainty, the paper finds for a panel of advanced economies that greater labor income uncertainty is significantly associated with higher household savings. These results are robust to controlling for other determinants of saving rates, including wealth-to-income ratios, the government fiscal balance, demographics, credit conditions, and global growth and financial stress. The estimates imply that at least two-fifths of the sharp increase in household saving rates between 2007 and 2009 can be attributed to the precautionary savings motive.

Date: 2012
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