¿Por qué tales diferencias en los patrones de ahorro?

PEKÍN.- Desde el inicio de la integración de los mercados emergentes a la economía global, a principios de la década de 1990, surgieron tres llamativas tendencias: una divergencia en las tasas de ahorro privado entre el centro industrializado y la periferia emergente (una fuerte alza en las primeras y una disminución continua en las segundas); grandes desequilibrios mundiales entre ambas regiones; y una caída de las tasas de interés en todo el mundo. Pero, si bien los desequilibrios globales han preocupados a muchos observadores, pocos han buscado explicar las diferencias en los comportamientos de ahorro entre países.

En 1988, la tasa de ahorro de los hogares en China y Estados Unidos era aproximadamente igual: cerca del 5%. Sin embargo, para 2007 el ahorro de los hogares en China había aumentado hasta un asombroso 30%, mientras que en EE. UU. era de solo el 2,5%. El patrón es fue inusitado en otros países industrializados respecto de los mercados emergentes durante las últimas dos décadas (Gráfico 1).

El comportamiento del ahorro invariablemente reacciona a cambios en las tasas de interés, que han caído sostenidamente durante las últimas dos décadas hasta alcanzar los mínimos récord actuales. Pero, ¿cómo pueden los patrones de ahorro diferir tanto –e incluso a menudo ser opuestos– en economías globalizadas bien integradas a los mercados de capitales mundiales?

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