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The Structure and Distribution of Household Wealth in Australia

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  • Bruce Headey
  • Gary Marks
  • Mark Wooden

Abstract

This article uses data from the second wave of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (or HILDA) Survey to provide an overview of the structure and distribution of household wealth in Australia. The data confirm that wealth is very unequally distributed, with the bottom half of the distribution owning less than 10 per cent of total household net worth, while the wealthiest 10 per cent account for 45 per cent. The article also includes an analysis of the factors associated with household wealth that indicates that wealth is significantly related to a range of factors including age, country of birth, parental occupational status, education, marital status, working hours, income, self-reported savings behaviour, a willingness to take risks and even various lifestyle behaviours, such as smoking and alcohol consumption. Copyright 2005 The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research in its journal The Australian Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 38 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (06)
Pages: 159-175

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ausecr:v:38:y:2005:i:2:p:159-175

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  1. Barrett, Garry F, 2002. "The Effect of Alcohol Consumption on Earnings," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 78(240), pages 79-96, March.
  2. Piggott, John, 1984. "The Distribution of Wealth in Australia-A Survey," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 60(170), pages 252-65, September.
  3. van Ours, Jan C., 2004. "A pint a day raises a man's pay; but smoking blows that gain away," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 863-886, September.
  4. A. W. Dilnot, 1990. "The Distribution and Composition of Personal Sector Wealth in Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 23(1), pages 33-40.
  5. Webster, Elizabeth, 2000. "The growth of enterprise intangible investment in Australia," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 1-25, March.
  6. Juster, F. Thomas & Smith, James P. & Stafford, Frank, 1999. "The measurement and structure of household wealth," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 253-275, June.
  7. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 675-700, August.
  8. N. Podder & N. C. Kakwani, 1976. "Distribution Of Wealth In Australia," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 22(1), pages 75-92, 03.
  9. Phillip B. Levine & Tara Gustafson & Ann D. Velenchik, 1997. "More bad news for smokers? The effects of cigarette smoking on wages," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(3), pages 493-509, April.
  10. Nicole Watson & Mark Wooden, 2004. "Sample Attrition in the HILDA Survey," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 7(2), pages 293-308, June.
  11. J. W. Nevile & N. A. Warren, 1984. "How Much Do We Know About Wealth Distribution in Australia?," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 17(4), pages 23-33.
  12. Mark Wooden & Simon Freidin & Nicole Watson, 2002. "The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA)Survey: Wave 1," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 35(3), pages 339-348.
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Cited by:
  1. Deborah A. Cobb‐Clark & Vincent A. Hildebrand, 2011. "Portfolio Allocation In The Face Of A Means‐Tested Public Pension," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 57(3), pages 536-560, 09.
  2. Andrew C. Worthington, 2009. "Household Asset Portfolio Diversification: Evidence from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey," Discussion Papers in Finance finance:200908, Griffith University, Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics.
  3. Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. & Hildebrand, Vincent A., 2008. "The Asset Portfolios of Native-Born and Foreign-Born Households," IZA Discussion Papers 3304, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. James Giesecke & G.A.Meagher, 2006. "Modelling the Economic Impacts of Migration and Population Growth," Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre Working Papers g-157, Victoria University, Centre of Policy Studies/IMPACT Centre.
  5. Chakrabarty, Debajyoti & Katayama, Hajime & Maslen, Hanna, 2006. "Why do the Rich Save More? A Theory and Australian Evidence," Working Papers 06-02.1, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
  6. Robert Drago & David Black & Mark Wooden, 2004. "Female Breadwinner Families: Their Existence, Persistence and Sources," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2004n19, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  7. James B. Davies & Susanna Sandström & Anthony Shorrocks & Edward N. Wolff, 2011. "The Level and Distribution of Global Household Wealth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(551), pages 223-254, March.
  8. Bruce Headey, 2008. "Poverty Is Low Consumption and Low Wealth, Not Just Low Income," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 89(1), pages 23-39, October.
  9. John Freebairn, 2005. "A Comparison of Alternative Tax Bases," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2005n11, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  10. Jefferson, Therese & Taplin, Ross, 2012. "Relational aspects of decisions to sell," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 697-704.
  11. Simon Anastasiadis, 2010. "Health and Wealth," Treasury Working Paper Series 10/01, New Zealand Treasury.
  12. Jenny Chesters & John Western, 2010. "Evidence and Perceptions of Inequality in Australia," CEPR Discussion Papers 635, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  13. Headey, Bruce & Wooden, Mark, 2004. "The Effects of Wealth and Income on Subjective Well-Being and Ill-Being," IZA Discussion Papers 1032, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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