Skip to main content

Understanding Why High Income Households Save More Than Low Income Households

Discussion Paper 106 | Published October 1, 1995

Download PDF

Authors

Understanding Why High Income Households Save More Than Low Income Households

Abstract

This paper investigates why high income households in the United States save on average more than low income households in cross-section data. The three explanations considered are (1) age differences across households, (2) temporary earnings shocks, and (3) the structure of transfer payments. We use a calibrated life-cycle model to evaluate the quantitative importance of these explanations and find that age and the structure of transfers are quantitatively important in producing the cross-section pattern of United States savings rates. Temporary shocks are of secondary importance.