Culture and Household Saving

62 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2015 Last revised: 2 Nov 2016

Date Written: October 31, 2016


This paper examines the role of culture in households' saving decisions. Exploiting the historical language borders within Switzerland, I isolate the effect of households' exposure to certain language groups from economic, institutional, demographic and geographic factors for a homogeneous and representative sample of households. The analysis uses the Swiss Household Panel which I complement with geographic and socio-economic data. I show that low- and middle-income households located in the German-speaking part are more than 11 percentage points more likely to save than similar households in the French-speaking part. In line with the existing literature, I show that these differences across language regions are consistent with different distributions of time preferences. By contrast, I do not find clear evidence for risk sharing during times of financial distress.

Keywords: Household Finance, Saving, Culture, Household Economics, Language, Peer Effects

JEL Classification: Z1, D12, E21, D91

Suggested Citation

Guin, Benjamin, Culture and Household Saving (October 31, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Benjamin Guin (Contact Author)

Bank of England ( email )

Threadneedle Street
London, EC2R 8AH
United Kingdom

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