Project in detail

The International Savings Comparison Project

Members of this project:

This project addressed the connections between saving behavior and institutional frameworks. Since the institutions, such as public pensions, capital taxation and capital market institutions, change only slightly over time, it is, as a rule, impossible to draw conclusions from the analysis of individual countries. The International Savings Comparison Project, in short ISCP, therefore exploits variation between countries (Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA) to learn more about the savings in the face of different institutional frameworks.
The results indicate that individuals in countries with less government protection (e.g. the US and the Netherlands) make a greater effort to amass personal savings and show a more defined cycle of personal savings throughout their lifecycle. By contrast, individuals in Germany enjoy a more tightly-knit safety net and seem to save more constantly as they age. But also precautionary saving to compensate for lower public health insurance or public unemployment compensation affects the life-cycle saving path. Last but not least typical cohabitation practices (composite households are still more common in Italy and Japan than in other countries) seem to have an influence as well.
The results of the individual country surveys are published in „Life-Cycle Savings and Public Policy – A cross-national Study of Six Countries“ (Ed.: Prof. Axel Börsch-Supan, Ph.D.). Börsch-Supan and Lusardi (2002) adds a synoptical meta-analysis contrasting the different countries’ saving behavior. Sommer (2002) relates the life-cycle saving profiles to institutional differences across countries.
Publications: Börsch-Supan, Axel (Ed.) (2002): „Life-Cycle Savings and Public Policy – A cross-national Study of Six Countries“. New York: Academic Press. Börsch-Supan, Axel and Annamaria Lusardi (2002): „Saving Viewed from a Cross-National Perspective“. MEA Discussion Paper, 24-2002. Sommer, Mathias (2002): “Life-Cycle Saving Behavior under the Impact of Social Security – An International Comparison,” Diploma Thesis, University of Mannheim.

MEA Discussion Papers arisen from this project:

Publications arisen from this project:
  • Börsch-Supan, Axel; Lusardi, Anna Maria (2003): Saving: A Cross-National Perspective, Börsch-Supan, Axel, Life Cycle Savings and Public Policy: a cross-national study of six countries, Academic Press, New York, 1-31
  • Börsch-Supan, Axel; Reil-Held, Anette; Schnabel, Reinhold (2003): Household Saving in Germany, Börsch-Supan, Axel, Life Cycle Savings and Public Policy: a cross-national study of six countries, Academic Press, Elsevier Science, USA, 57-99
  • Sommer, Mathias (2002): Life-cycle saving behavior under the impact of social security - an international comparison
  • Börsch-Supan, Axel (2002): International Comparison of Household Savings Behaviour: The German Savings Puzzle, MEA Discussion Paper 006-02
  • Börsch-Supan, Axel; Annamaria Lusardi (2002): Saving Viewed from a Cross-National Perspective, MEA Discussion Paper 024-02
  • Börsch-Supan, Axel (2001): Rejoinder to Tullio Jappelli's Comments, Research in Economics, 55, 2, 185-188
  • Börsch-Supan, Axel; Reil-Held, Anette; Rodepeter, Ralf; Schnabel, Reinhold; Winter, Joachim (2001): The German Savings Puzzle, Research in Economics, 55, 1, 15-38

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