DP11435 Income Distribution and Aggregate Saving: A Non-Monotonic Relationship

Author(s): Peter Bofinger, Philipp Scheuermeyer
Publication Date: August 2016
Keyword(s): income distribution, non-linearities, panel data, Saving
JEL(s): C23, D31, E21, O5
Programme Areas: Macroeconomics and Growth
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=11435

Drawing on a panel of 29 advanced economies, this paper documents a concave and non-monotonic link between inequality and the aggregate household saving rate. We find that, at a low level of inequality, more inequality is associated with higher saving; but also show that a negative relationship between inequality and saving prevails, where inequality is high. Using different empirical approaches, we locate the turning-point, where the marginal effect of inequality turns from positive to negative, at a net income Gini coefficient of around 30. Moreover, we show that the relationship between inequality and saving also depends on financial market conditions: While inequality increases saving, when credit is scarce, it tends to reduce saving at high levels of credit. This paper primarily focuses on household saving, yet we also find some evidence for a non-monotonic effect of inequality on private saving, national saving, and the current account balance.