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Measuring Saving Rates in New Zealand: An Update

Publication Details

  • Measuring Saving Rates in New Zealand: An Update
  • Published: 6 Mar 2013
  • Status: Current
  • Authors: Scobie, Grant M; Gorman, Emma; Paek, Yongjoon
  • Pages: (2),vi,62
  • ISBN: 978-0-478-39699-7 (Online)
  • Ref. No: WP 13/04
  • Pub. type: Working Papers
  • JEL Classification: E21

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.

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Executive Summary


1 Introduction

2 Methods and data

3 Trends in saving rates

4 Adjusted measures of saving

5 Summary and Conclusions


Appendix A: The system of national accounts

Appendix B: Basic data: flow measures

Appendix C: Summary of saving rates: flow measures

Appendix D: Revisions to household saving rates

Appendix E: Household saving rates: stock measures

Appendix F: Summary of flow and stock saving measures

Appendix G: Adjusting the current account and the external debt for inflation

Appendix H: Adjusting for the inflationary tax on liabilities of the government held by the public

Appendix I: Adjusting saving for investment items

Appendix J: Adjusting for NZ Superannuation Fund

Appendix K: International Comparisons

twp13-04.pdf (825 KB) pp. i–vi, 1–62


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.

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