We study the effect of national culture on economic decisions, focusing on GLOBE cultural dimensions of uncertainty avoidance and future orientation. Specifically, we study the effect of divergence between cultural values and practices (societal aspirations), on the aggregate savings decision. Using the life-cycle model of savings as our basic model, we find that societal aspirations are important in explaining national savings behavior. In particular, we show that societal aspirations relating to future orientation and uncertainty avoidance have a positive effect on the rate of savings. We interpret our findings to indicate that such societal aspirations lead to mistrust in the societal arrangements and institutions, and induce savings as a means of securing the future and reducing uncertainty. To substantiate this interpretation, we utilize the microfinance industry; showing that high societal aspirations are associated with preference for savings through member-owned microfinance institutions (MFIs) over savings through non-member-owned MFIs.
- cross-cultural research
- national culture
- national savings
- societal aspirations
- the lifecycle model of savings