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Abstract

An often-overlooked impact of China’s policy of maintaining low interest has been the suppression of household interest income, which has increased the propensity of households to save while decreasing their consumption rates. This paper posits that from 2000 to 2007, deposit rates in China were suppressed annually by around 720 basis points, imposing an implicit tax on annual per-capita income of 12.8% on average. Raising deposit rates will increase household income and boost consumption in the medium-term if the Chinese government is able to initiate policy shifts that distribute the gains of economic growth more equitably to households. Research advised by Stephen Roach.