Measuring Saving Rates in New Zealand: An Update
Published 6 Mar 2013
Authors: Emma Gorman, Grant M Scobie and Yongjoon Paek
This paper reviews the flow approach (income less consumption) to measuring saving and the associated trends in sectoral saving rates for New Zealand, as derived from the national accounts. It also presents estimates for the household sector, of the stock measure of savings (changes in net wealth). The latter estimates are found to be consistently greater than the flow measures of household savings. Finally a series of adjustments are made to the flow measures of household and national saving rates. These include adjustment to the boundary between consumption and investment, the impact of inflation and the role of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. As a result the adjusted measure of net national saving is found, on average to be some 10 percentage points of GDP higher than the raw measure. The associated estimate of the level of adjusted net foreign liabilities is on average 2 percent of GDP lower than the raw data.
The authors are grateful to Andrew Coleman for extensive suggestions which have improved an earlier draft. Valuable comments were made by Adolf Stroombergen, Jeff Cope and Malcolm Menzies, together with participants at a seminar held in the Treasury. Chase O’Brien and Malcolm Gray of Statistics New Zealand provided valuable support in clarifying revisions to the data.
The views, opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Working Paper are strictly those of the author(s). They do not necessarily reflect the views of the New Zealand Treasury or the New Zealand Government. The New Zealand Treasury and the New Zealand Government take no responsibility for any errors or omissions in, or for the correctness of, the information contained in these working papers. The paper is presented not as policy, but with a view to inform and stimulate wider debate.