This paper extends earlier work by Feldstein and Horioka on the relation
between domestic saving rates and international capital flows or, equivalently,
between domestic saving rates and domestic investment. The basic conclusion of
the present analysis is that an increase in domestic saving has a substantial
effect on the level of domestic investment although a smaller effect than would
have been observed in the 1960s and 1970s. The savings retention coefficient
for the 1980-86 period is 0.79, down from 0.91 in the l960s and 0.86 in the
The more closely integrated economies of the EEC also appear to have more
outward capital mobility (i.e., a lower saving retention coefficient) than
other OECD countries.
There is no support for the view that the estimated saving-investment
relation reflecta a spurious impact of an omitted economic growth variable.
Although budget deficits are inversely related to the difference between
private investment end private saving, we reject the view that this reflects an
endogenoua response of fiscal policy in favor to the alter-native interpretation
that the negative reletion is evidence of crowding out of private investment by
budget deficits. This interpretation is supported by the evidence that
domestic investment responds equally to private saving and to budget deficits.
The implication of the analysis thus supports the original Feldstein-
Horioka conclusion that increase in domestic saving does raise a nation's
capital stock and therefore the productivity of its workforce. Similarly, a
tax on capital income is not likely to be shifted fully to labor and land by
the outflow of enough capital to maintain the real rate of return unchanged.
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