Income Preferences and Household Savings
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Publication date: 2007-09-30
GNPJE 2007;218(9):19-30
In this paper, the author deals with the saving profiles of households in relation to the perception of their subjectively preferred incomes. The author shows that household savings are influenced by a behavioral attitude concerning the evaluation of one’s household income. The variable used in the analysis of household behavior is an income preference ratio constructed by the author. This variable is computed as a ratio of the subjectively preferred income as declared by the household head to the current disposable income of the household. An analysis of the income preference ratio has been conducted with respect to the age and gender of the household head. It shows that women as heads of households generally have lower expectations regarding preferred income and that income preferences vary according to the age of the household head, being the highest at a young age. Household savings are correlated with the level of current disposable income and income preferences. Positive household savings can even be observed among households with very low incomes. Savings rise significantly in households with income higher than “sufficient” and are very high in households with “good” and “very good” income. The results of the analysis show that the income preferences of Polish households tend toward higher income levels than the actual level of disposable income. The propensity to save suggests that the financial condition of Polish households may be better than subjectively perceived and declared by the household head. The subjectively preferred incomes of households positively influence household saving profiles, with the exception of households with “insufficient” incomes. The research is based on 2004 data for 32,000 households from Household Budget Surveys for Poland.
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