National Saving and Economic Performance
The past decade has witnessed a decline in saving throughout the developed world. The consequences can be serious. For individuals, their own economic security and that of their families is jeopardized. For society, inadequate rates of saving have been blamed for a variety of ills—decreasing the competitive abilities of American industry, slowing capital accumulation, increasing our trade deficit, and forcing the sale of capital stock to foreign investors at bargain prices. Restoring acceptable rates of saving in the United States poses a major challenge to those who formulate national economic policy, especially since economists and policymakers alike still understand little about what motivates people to save.
In National Saving and Economic Performance, edited by B. Douglas Bernheim and John B. Shoven, that task is addressed by offering the results of new research that examines policies aimed at improving saving. Leading experts in diverse fields of economics debate the need for more accurate measurement of official saving data; examine how corporate decisions to retain or distribute earnings affect household-level consumption and saving; and investigate the effects of taxation on saving behavior, correlations between national saving and international investment over time, and the influence of economic growth on saving.