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The measurement and structure of household wealth

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  • Juster, F. Thomas
  • Smith, James P.
  • Stafford, Frank

Abstract

This paper deals with methodological issues that arise in measuring household wealth. Two prominent American household surveys--the PSID and SCF--rely on different methodological approaches to the measurement of household wealth. In particular, SCF oversamples high-income households and has a far more extensive set of questions. In the top one percent of the wealth distribution, better measures of wealth are related to over- sampling of very wealthy households and the number of questions that are asked. However, one can characterize total household wealth holdings for the overwhelming majority of households with a relatively moderate number of questions. When successive waves of wealth modules are used to compute savings, the verdict on quality is more cautious, in part due to the inherently lartger role measurement error plays in any first difference formulation.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 6 (1999)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 253-275

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:6:y:1999:i:2:p:253-275

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

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References

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  1. F. Thomas Juster & James P. Smith, 2004. "Improving the Quality of Economic Data: Lessons from the HRS and AHEAD," Labor and Demography 0402010, EconWPA.
  2. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1995. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 360-99, April.
  3. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244.
  4. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1996. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1797-1855, December.
  5. Arthur B. Kennickell & Martha Starr-McCluer & Annika E. Sunden, 1997. "Family finances in the U.S.: recent evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-24.
  6. Richard T. Curtin & Thomas Juster & James N. Morgan, 1989. "Survey Estimates of Wealth: An Assessment of Quality," NBER Chapters, in: The Measurement of Saving, Investment, and Wealth, pages 473-552 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Avery, Robert B & Kennickell, Arthur B, 1991. "Household Saving in the U.S," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(4), pages 409-32, December.
  8. Smith, J-P, 1997. "Inheritances and Bequests," Papers 97-04, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
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