Household Saving and Permanent Income in Canada and the United Kingdom

John Y. Campbell, Richard H. Clarida

NBER Working Paper No. 2223
Issued in April 1987
NBER Program(s):Economic Fluctuations and Growth Program

Recent theoretical research in open-economy macroeconomics has emphasized the connection between a country's current account and the intertemporal savings and investment choices of its households, firms, and governments. In this paper, we assess the empirical relevance of the permanent income theory of household saving, a key building block of recent theoretical models of the current account. Using the econometric approach of Campbell (1987), we are able to reject the theory on quarterly aggregate data in Canada and the United Kingdom. However, we also assess the economic significance of these statistical rejections by comparing the behavior of saving with that of an unrestricted vector autoregressive (VAR) forecast of future changes in disposable labor income. If the theory is true, saving should be the best available predictor of future changes in disposable labor income. We find the correlation between saving and the unrestricted VAR forecast to be extremely high in both countries. The results suggest that the theory provides a useful description of the dynamic behavior of household saving in Canada and Britain.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w2223

Published: Campbell, John Y. and Richard H. Clarida. "Household Saving and Permanent Income in Canada and the United Kingdom," The Economic Consequences of Government Budgets, ed. by E. Helpman, A. Razin and E. Sadka. Cambridge, MA: MI TPress, 1988,.

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