Determinants of savings in urban and rural households: case of South Africa

Type Journal Article - Demography and Social Economy
Title Determinants of savings in urban and rural households: case of South Africa
Volume 46
Issue 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2021
Page numbers 151-168
Savings have been described as a significant financial and economic matter and represent an essential driving force of economic growth and development. Despite this, many studies investigating the determinants of savings in South Africa have looked predominantly at the drivers of
savings only at a national level, without focusing on urban and rural differences. This is critical as these localities are structurally different, with different characteristics. It is, therefore, likely that the determinants of savings in these unique geographical localities would differ, given the
negative impact of past policies of marginalisation. The purpose of this paper is to examine the urban-rural disparities in savings for South African households. We used data sourced from the five waves of the National Income Dynamics Study (NIDS) observed from 2008-2017. The novelty of this study is in its application of a novel two-stage least square estimation technique which addresses possible endogeneity problems which might have plagued previous studies in this field. It was concluded from the research that the determinants of savings are different across samples (urban and rural). We found that having access to land is an important predictor of savings in rural areas where the poor live (positive and significant), but the coefficient is not significant in the urban sample. Although there was a positive correlation between income and savings across samples, but the income impact on savings is higher in absolute values for households residing in rural areas, compared to household living in urban areas. We also found that, despite the coefficient of employment being similar in the direction of the impact (positive and significant) across the samples, the magnitude of the coefficient was stronger in the rural sample. Based on the higher magnitude of the coefficient, we found that household size has more effect in urban than rural areas. The study recommends that government should design and implement policies that foster job creation, even low-skilled jobs, which will generate more income and reduce unemployment.

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