Household saving rates in the EU: Why do they differ so much?

This paper investigates what can contribute to explaining why household saving rate levels are persistently so dispersed across EU countries, ranging from –10% of household income in Romania to +16% in Germany in 2013. Factors explaining changes over time or forecasting of household savings fall out of the scope of this paper.  First, we argue that caution is needed when comparing household saving rates across countries. Institutional differences and data reliability are likely to hinder the international comparability of saving rates.  Second, we discuss various determinants of household saving behaviour. We find that traditional explanatory variables like income levels, age dependency and uncertainty can explain more than half of the cross section variance in saving rates. However, large unobserved country fixed effects (e.g. because of institutional differences and measurement error) appear to be present.

Author: Stijn; Michael, Rocher; Stierle
Volume: 2015.01
Publisher: INFER
Year: 2015
No. of pages: 29
Working papers