Are Japanese Households Financially Healthy, and If so, Why? A Group of Seven (G7) Comparison

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on December 3, 2012

Horioka, Charles Yuji, Are Japanese Households Financially Healthy, and If so, Why? A Group of Seven (G7) Comparison (November 27, 2012). The Japanese Economy, Vol. 39, No. 4, 2012; ISER Discussion Paper No. 859. Available at SSRN

  • “In this paper, I conduct an international comparison of the financial health of households using data on household wealth and indebtedness for the Group of Seven (G7) countries and show that, even though household borrowings in Japan were the highest among the G7 countries, at least until 2000, household assets were also high in Japan, as a result of which household net worth and financial health in Japan were among the highest in the G7 countries. Turning to long-term trends in Japan over time, I find that Japan has shown a sharp increase over time in household borrowing, at least until 2000, and a sharp increase over time in both household assets and household net worth, at least until 1990. It is not clear whether the greater financial health of Japanese households is due more to culture or to government policies, institutions, and other non-cultural factors, but it appears that long-term trends over time in household assets, liabilities, and net worth in Japan can be explained much better by non-cultural factors than by culture.”
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