The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
From 1995 to 2005, the average urban household saving rate in China rose by 7 percentage points, to 1/4 of disposable income. We use household-level data to explain the postponing of consumption despite rapid income growth. Tracing cohorts over time indicates virtually no consumption smoothing over the life cycle. Saving rates have increased across all demographic groups, although the age-profile of savings has an unusual U-shaped pattern, with saving rates being the highest among the youngest and oldest households in recent years. These patterns are best explained by the rising private burden of expenditures on housing, education, and health care.