COLUMBIA, 10/22/11 (Beat Byte) --
It shouldn't be any surprise: Chinese households, on average, save much more than American households.
But College of Human Environmental Sciences assistant professor Rui Yao
(left) wanted to discover the reasons behind the difference, so she looked at the three main savings motivations -- precautionary, education, and retirement -- across the 2007 American Survey of Consumer Finances and the 2008 Survey of Chinese Consumer Finance and Investor Education.
Chinese citizens, it seems, are simply more cautious than Americans.
Nearly 60 percent of Chinese households save for precautionary reasons, Yao found, compared to 35 percent of American households.
Educational savings was the second most prominent motive, with 59 percent of Chinese urban households saving for education compared to only 19 percent of Americans. "The Chinese culture, which is influenced by Confucianism, values education very highly," Yao explained. "Recent Chinese economic reforms have also shifted education costs to households, which gives them an additional motive for education saving."
Households from both countries save about the same income percentages for retirement -- 51 percent in China and 45 percent in America.