Understanding Chinese household savings

It is not a secret that the Chinese are saving like crazy. The big question is why their savings rate is the highest in the world and it was addressed before on this blog (more below). The explanation that this would have to do with life-cycle considerations as the population ages (with few children) has by now been largely dismissed. So can explain it?

Riccardo Cristadoro and Daniela Marconi make the point that we really need to look at households, as firms or the government have not increased their savings rate sufficiently. Using panel data, they notice that the savings behavior differs markedly across provinces. And one aspect that does as well vary across provinces is the provision of social services and the access to credit. Thus they tie the high savings rate with the need to build up precautionary savings. This corroborates my previous posts about increased idiosyncratic risk and the reform of the public pension system.

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