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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 7 No. 2 (Spring 1993)


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Accounting for Saving and Capital Formation in the United States, 1947-1991

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Ruggles, Richard. 1993. "Accounting for Saving and Capital Formation in the United States, 1947-1991." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 7(2): 3-17.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.7.2.3


This paper is concerned with accounting for the saving and capital formation taking place in different sectors of the U.S. economy. In brief, where does saving arise and where is it used? Do some sectors save more than they spend for capital formation and thus are net lenders? Do other sectors save less than is required for their capital formation and thus are net borrowers? The U.S. national income accounts contain the basic data relating to these questions. However, at several points, these data must be recast in order to yield analytically useful results. When such a reformulation is made, the conclusions that can be drawn differ strikingly from much of the currently received conventional wisdom.

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Ruggles, Richard (Yale U)

JEL Classifications

E22: Capital; Investment; Capacity
E21: Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth
E10: General Aggregative Models: General
N12: Economic History: Macroeconomics; Growth and Fluctuations: U.S.; Canada: 1913-


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