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A Comparative Analysis of Household Wealth Patterns in France and the United States


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  • Kessler, Denis
  • Wolff, Edward N


We find that household wealth is distributed more unequally in the U.S. in 1983 than France in 1986. The Gini coefficient is 0.7 for the U.S. and 0.71 for France. There are also significant differences in the composition of wealth. Owner-occupied housing accounted for half of total assets in France, and only 30 percent in the U.S., while corporate stock and financial securities accounted to 19 percent in the U.S. and 8 percent in France. The debt-equity ratio was 0.13 in France and 0.20 in the U.S. The age-wealth profile in the two countries had the characteristic hump-shape predicted by the life-cycle model, but the profile was much flatter in France and peaked for families aged 50-59 in France, compared to 60-69 in the U.S. Copyright 1991 by The International Association for Research in Income and Wealth.

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Article provided by International Association for Research in Income and Wealth in its journal Review of Income & Wealth.

Volume (Year): 37 (1991)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 249-66

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Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:37:y:1991:i:3:p:249-66

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