COMPARABLE HOUSEHOLD SAVING RATES FOR CHINA AND THE UNITED STATES

Authors


*Ruoen Ren, School of Economics and Management, Beihang University, 37 Xue Yuan Road, Beijing 100191, P. R. China (ruoen8324@vip.sina.com).

Abstract

This paper focuses on how the household saving rate should be measured. The current method used in China to measure the saving rate is compared with that used in the U.S. Significant differences in concept and scope are discovered. Using these differences as a basis, we make relevant adjustments to the official measurement and recalculate the household saving rates of the two countries on a comparative scale. Our results show that the average of the Chinese household saving rate during the 1992–2004 period falls from 29.4 to 22.9 percent, and is lower than 20 percent in 2000, 2001, and 2003. The gap between China's household saving rate and that of the U.S. narrows by 8.6 percent on average and the adjusted difference is merely 17.5 percent on a comparable scale. It is therefore reasonable to conclude that the difference between the household saving rates of these two countries is in fact much smaller than is often suggested. Our study also shows that the household saving rates of these two countries are experiencing the same decreasing trend, but that both have increased slightly since 2002.

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