What is National Saving?: Alternative Measures in Historical and International Context
Most discussion of national saving behavior is based on national income account data. This paper lays out some of the main alternative conceptions of saving and to present data comparing recent U.S. saving behavior with its own past and with that of other nations. I argue, in particular, that more attention should be paid to measures of national wealth at asset market values. The main empirical contribution is to pull together data from the national balance sheets on wealth at market value compiled for the United States by the Flow of Funds Division of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (1989) and by various agencies sources in three other countries for which market value figures could be found: Japan, and Sweden, and the United Kingdom.