The Interest Rate Effect on Private Saving: Alternative Perspectives

52 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2016

See all articles by Joshua Aizenman

Joshua Aizenman

University of Southern California - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Yin-Wong Cheung

City University of Hong Kong - Department of Economics & Finance; University of California, Santa Cruz - Department of Economics; University of California at Santa Cruz - Department of Economics

Hiro Ito

Portland State University - Department of Economics

Date Written: November 2016

Abstract

Using an uneven panel of 135 countries from 1995 to 2014, we investigate the link between interest rates and private saving, and focus on whether the interest rate effect is dominated by the income (i.e., negative) or the substitution (i.e., positive) effect. With the baseline estimation, we find that the real interest rate has the substitution effect on private saving only for a full-country sample and a group of Asian economies. We also examine if low real - or nominal - interest rates have any impact on the link between the real interest rate and the private saving rate. We find that among developing countries, when the nominal interest rate is not too low, we detect the substitution effect of the real interest rate on private saving. However, among industrial and emerging economies, the substitution effect is detected only when the nominal interest rate is lower than 2.5%. In contrast, emerging-market Asian countries are found to have the income effect when the nominal interest rate is below 2.5%. When we examine the interactive effects between the real interest rate and the variables for economic conditions and policies, we find that the real interest rate has a negative impact - i.e., income effect - on private saving if any output volatility, old dependency, or financial development is above a certain threshold. Further, when the real interest rate is below 1.5%, greater output volatility would lead to higher private saving in developing countries. Lastly, we find that old dependency ratios, public healthcare expenditure, and financial development have negative impacts on private saving, but such impacts in absolute values tend to become smaller as the real interest rate becomes lower.

Suggested Citation

Aizenman, Joshua and Cheung, Yin-Wong and Ito, Hiro, The Interest Rate Effect on Private Saving: Alternative Perspectives (November 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22872. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2876436

Joshua Aizenman (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Department of Economics ( email )

3620 South Vermont Ave. Kaprielian (KAP) Hall, 300
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Yin-Wong Cheung

City University of Hong Kong - Department of Economics & Finance ( email )

83 Tat Chee Avenue
Kowloon
Hong Kong

University of California, Santa Cruz - Department of Economics ( email )

435 Engineering 2
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States
831-459-4247 (Phone)
831-459-5077 (Fax)

University of California at Santa Cruz - Department of Economics ( email )

1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States

Hiro Ito

Portland State University - Department of Economics ( email )

Portland, OR 97207-0751
United States
503-725-3930 (Phone)
503-725-3945 (Fax)

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