Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Long-run Determinants of Private Saving Behaviour in Pakistan

Compared to the rapidly-growing economies of Southeast Asia, the growth performance of the Pakistan economy was significantly weaker during the 1970s and 1980s. While the Southeast Asian countries made substantial progress in improving living standards, the average standard of living, as measured by the GNP per capita, was virtually stagnant in Pakistan over this period. Much of the difference in economic performance between Pakistan and the Southeast Asian countries is often attributed to the low rates of saving and investment in Pakistan.1 Indeed, the differences in rates of domestic investment are often attributed to the differences in rates of domestic saving. Hence, the disparity in the growth performance between Pakistan and the Southeast Asian countries over the past two decades relates to the differences in saving rates, and an understanding of the fundamental determinants of saving in Pakistan assumes critical importance. This paper reviews trend developments in the private saving behaviour in Pakistan, and compares these trends with those seen in the Southeast Asian economies during the period since 1970. Using co-integration analysis, the long-run properties of Pakistan’s saving rate are examined, with a view to identifying the main determinants of saving. The principal finding is that about one-half of the trend increase in saving appears to be related to financial development and deepening. In contrast to the results obtained by Faruqee and Husain (1994) and Husain (1995) for the Southeast Asian countries, demographics appear not to have played an important role in determining saving behaviour in Pakistan, possibly because high rates of population growth during the past three decades resulted in a virtually unchanged demographic structure of the population.

Aasim M. Husain