The Saving Glut of the Rich and the Rise in Household Debt

80 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2020

See all articles by Atif R. Mian

Atif R. Mian

Princeton University - Department of Economics; Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; NBER

Amir Sufi

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business; NBER

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

Rising income inequality since the 1980s in the United States has generated a substantial increase in saving by the top of the income distribution, which we call the saving glut of the rich. The saving glut of the rich has been as large as the global saving glut, and it has not been associated with an increase in investment. Instead, the saving glut of the rich has been linked to the substantial dissaving and large accumulation of debt by the non-rich. Analysis using variation across states shows that the rise in top income shares can explain almost all of the accumulation of household debt held as a financial asset by the household sector. Since the Great Recession, the saving glut of the rich has been financing government deficits to a greater degree.

Keywords: inequality, saving glut, household debt, unveiling

JEL Classification: E210, E440, G510, D310

Suggested Citation

Mian, Atif R. and Sufi, Amir, The Saving Glut of the Rich and the Rise in Household Debt (2020). CESifo Working Paper No. 8201, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3571907

Atif R. Mian (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs ( email )

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

NBER

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Amir Sufi

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

NBER

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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