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On the Evolution of the US Consumer Wealth Distribution

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  • Hintermaier, Thomas
  • Koeniger, Winfried

Abstract

We use all available waves of the Survey of Consumer Finances to document the evolution of the wealth distribution in the US since the 1980s. We then rely on the shape of this distribution to estimate a life-cycle incomplete markets model. We find that considering a wide range of net-worth percentiles delivers very precise estimates of the structural parameters, impatience and risk aversion. The estimated model predicts some of the observed changes of the net-worth distribution, in particular for young consumers between ages 26 and 35.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7850.

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Date of creation: Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7850

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Keywords: incomplete markets; life cycle; simulated method of moments; wealth distribution;

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References

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  1. Fang Yang, 2009. "Consumption over the Life Cycle: How Different is Housing?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(3), pages 423-443, July.
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  4. Jonathan Heathcote & Fabrizio Perri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States: 1967-2006," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 15-51, January.
  5. Jesus Fernández-Villaverde & Dirk Krueger, 2007. "Consumption over the Life Cycle: Facts from Consumer Expenditure Survey Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 552-565, August.
  6. Cagetti, Marco, 2003. "Wealth Accumulation over the Life Cycle and Precautionary Savings," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 21(3), pages 339-53, July.
  7. Santiago Budria Rodriguez & Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Vincenzo Quadrini & Jose-Victor Rior-Rull, 2002. "Updated facts on the U.S. distributions of earnings, income, and wealth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 2-35.
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  9. Fatih Guvenen, 2005. "An Empirical Investigation of Labor Income Processes," Macroeconomics 0508026, EconWPA.
  10. Greg Kaplan & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "How Much Consumption Insurance beyond Self-Insurance?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 53-87, October.
  11. Christopher D. Carroll, 2005. "The Method of Endogenous Gridpoints for Solving Dynamic Stochastic Optimization Problems," NBER Technical Working Papers 0309, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Andrew G. Biggs, 2011. "Social Security," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 24949, 9.
  13. Satyajit Chatterjee & Dean Corbae & Makoto Nakajima & José-Víctor Ríos-Rull, 2007. "A Quantitative Theory of Unsecured Consumer Credit with Risk of Default," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(6), pages 1525-1589, November.
  14. Iourii Manovskii & Gueorgui Kambourov, 2005. "Accounting for the Changing Life-Cycle Profile of Earnings," 2005 Meeting Papers 231, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  15. Caporale, Tony & Grier, Kevin B, 2000. "Political Regime Change and the Real Interest Rate," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 32(3), pages 320-34, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Harenberg, Daniel & Ludwig, Alexander, 2014. "Social Security and the Interactions Between Aggregate and Idiosyncratic Risk," MEA discussion paper series 14280, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  2. Thomas Hintermaier & Winfried Koeniger, 2009. "Debt Portfolios," Working Papers 646, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  3. Harenberg, Daniel & Ludwig, Alexander, 2014. "Social security and the interactions between aggregate and idiosyncratic risk," SAFE Working Paper Series 59, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
  4. Winfried Koeniger & Thomas Hintermaier, 2009. "Bankruptcy and Debt Portfolios," 2009 Meeting Papers 348, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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