Private savings, financial developments and institutions in emerging economies

  • Fauzi Bin Zainir

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    In the 1950s and 1960s, after gaining independence from their colonial powers, most developing countries adopted “market substitution” as their policy for economic development and growth. In essence, this was an industrialisation strategy followed by these developing economies to concentrate on home-grown products and nurture their expertise in order to reach the status of industrialised nations. However, by the end of 1970s, many developing countries began to realize the failures of their inward-looking approach to industrialization when their economies were mired with high unemployment, inflation and chronic external debt. By the middle of 1980s, many of these countries began to change their policies and reorient themselves into market economies. However, with financial crises and economic recessions that resulted from pursuing market driven liberalization policies, these economies began to realize the flaws of the market driven approach to industrialization. Nevertheless, they continued with the liberalised policies incorporating market as well as non-market (institutional) reforms, aimed at strengthening regulation, improving corporate governance and curbing corruption to avoid the destabilising consequences of financial liberalization.

    The evolving economic policies that influenced financial development and growth in developing economies came about with the objective of enhancing household and private sector‘s savings. These policies have been designed to influence financial development and economic growth (which can impact upon private savings) in two different ways: (i) by increasing saving due to households taking precautionary motives, or (ii) negatively by spending more due to increase in overall expenditures. Theoretically, the combined effect on private saving is therefore ambiguous. The purpose of this thesis is to assess empirically the importance of various economic factors influencing private sector savings in emerging market economies. In addition, the influence of non-market institutional factors on savings is explored from the incorporation of newly institutional measures into these countries economic policies.

    Several econometric methodologies are employed with empirical analysis conducted on data for twenty emerging economies across three primary regions in the world, i.e. Asia Pacific, Middle East and North African (MENA), and South America. The twenty countries also include other emerging economies that are proximate to MENA regions such as South Africa, Turkey and Israel. In general, the findings based on SUR (Seemingly Unrelated Regression) methodology show that per capita growth, financial development, government savings, and trade openness have a positive impact on private savings; while youth and old dependency-age groups, real interest rate, and urban growth have a negative effect on private savings. In general, most of these results are consistent with previous studies for other countries.

    Additionally, causality tests are conducted using Vector Autoregressive (VAR) methodology as well as Pedroni and Johansen cointegration methods within the Vector Error Correction (VEC) model to determine both short-term and long-term causality effects between financial development and economic growth. The results indicate that in the long run financial development has a causal effect on growth; however, in the short run the results are quite mixed. For example, the short run result using the VAR method shows that income growth has Granger causality effect on financial development, but the F-test result for the VEC method shows evidence of bivariate causality. The long-term causality results also confirm the finding of previous research about the importance of developing financial sector in order to spur the country‘s economic growth.

    The final empirical investigation is to conduct panel data regression to test the impact of non-market institutions on private savings. The main result here is that sound institutional factors based on respect for property rights (e.g. bureaucracy, accountability and regulation quality) have a positive effect on aggregate private savings. Furthermore, political stability is found to have a negative impact on savings while efficient bureaucracy has a positive impact on savings. It can be construed that with an uncertain political environment, i.e. diminishing political stability, the public in general would save more than spend. On the other hand, efficient bureaucracy would boost public confidence about the country‘s governance, which can lead to increased overall savings by the public.
    Date of Award2012
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorSailesh Tanna (Supervisor) & Timothy Rodgers (Supervisor)


    • developing countries
    • economic development
    • household savings
    • private savings

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