We use a new independent survey of 4000 Russian households (the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey or RLMS) to study their saving behavior. The RLMS household saving rate (12%) is less than half the official figure (29%). Despite the massive changes of the transition, the Russian household saving rate of 1994 cannot be shown to be different from that of 1976. The patterns of Russian household saving differ from international experience: Its paradoxical U-shaped saving-age relationship may be explained by the dramatic deterioration of life expectancies of middle-aged Russians.

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