Économie et Statistique n° 467-468 - 2014 Measuring saver preferences - Introduction and three papers about the "Active solidarity income" (RSA) - How does the taxable income of households react to taxation?
Measuring saver preferences: how and why (in times of economic crisis)?
With five waves from 1998 to 2011 and a strong panel dimension, the body of Pater data provides additional information to INSEE's Wealth surveys on more subjective and qualitative aspects of wealth behaviour. Each questionnaire includes a series of measures of preferences obtained using different methods. The measures are not the "usual" measures given in the empirical literature, they come from an original approach based on a scoring procedure, developed in 1998 and refined since. They involve questions relating to various areas of life which allow assessment of ordinal, composite and consistent indicators relating to the attitudes of each respondent towards risk and uncertainty, the extent of family altruism and the priority given to the present. The data leads only to the retention of one "score" in each of the five waves for risk and a score for altruism, and to a distinction between two separate scores for the priority given to the present. This is the degree of impatience in the short term and the time preference over the long term. In addition to this robust result, our method appears superior to other preference measures as much with regard to statistical properties and explanatory factors for the four identified scores, as for the correlations between these different scores and their effects on wealth and the demand for assets. The Pater data tracks the same savers during the crisis, and like other sources shows less appetite among French people to risks in their savings or their portfolio choices. However, this change in behaviour cannot be explained by a change in saver preferences, which have remained statistically stable since June 2007, but is above all explained by increasingly gloomy expectations with regard to returns and the risks of financial assets.