NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Japan's High Saving Rate Reaffirmed

Robert Dekle, Lawrence H. Summers

NBER Working Paper No. 3690
Issued in April 1991
NBER Program(s):   EFG

Compared to the U.S. national accounts, the Japanese accounts understate consumption and government spending, and therefore overstate the national saving rate. Recently, Hayashi has recalculated Japan's national saving according to the American Department of Commerce definition and found that from the mid-1970s until today, Japan's national saving rate is nearly halved. In this paper, we argue that Hayashi's adjustments to the Japanese income accounts are exaggerated, and present measures of Japanese and U.S. private saving that are immune from national income accounting biases. Our saving measures are constructed from the balance sheets of the household sectors in the United States and Japan. Far from being equal, we find that the two country gap in saving rates in the early 1980s has averaged between 15 and 30 percentage points, depending on the measure.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w3690

Published: Bank of Japan Monetary and Economic Studies, 9:2, Sept. 1991, pp. 63-78 citation courtesy of

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