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Economic Consequences of Widowhood in Europe: Cross-country and Gender Differences

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  • Namkee Ahn

Abstract

We document in this paper, the economic consequences upon widowhood using both cross- section and panel data from European Community Household Panel. Main conclusions are as what follows. First, there is a large difference across country. The widowed persons in Greece and Portugal have lowest income, less than a half of that of Austrian widowed persons. Cross-country difference decreases somewhat if we consider household income net of housing costs due to higher home- ownership in low income countries. Second, income reduction upon widowhood is in general larger among widows than widowers. The gender difference is largest in Denmark, Spain, Austria and Finland, where widowers enjoy more than 30% higher income than widows. Third, the main culprit of gender difference in income situation of widowed persons is the pension regulation. As many widowed women depend on survivorship pension as their main income source and as the survivorship pension is much lower than old-age pension in most countries, widows suffer much larger income reduction than widowers with widowhood. As current elderly women and those in many coming years lived their working ages in a world where wives and mothers worked at home, raised children and did not work in the market, they will depend mostly on survivorship pension as their main income source. Consequently, their economic situation would not improve in the medium term unless pension regulations change to improve their economic situation

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Paper provided by FEDEA in its series Working Papers with number 2004-27.

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Handle: RePEc:fda:fdaddt:2004-27

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  1. Michael D. Hurd & David A. Wise, 1989. "The Wealth and Poverty of Widows: Assets Before and After the Husband's Death," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Aging, pages 177-200 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kathleen McGarry & Robert F. Schoeni, 1998. "Social Security, Economic Growth, and the Rise in Independence of Elderly Widows in the 20th Century," NBER Working Papers 6511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Carole Bonnet & Laurent Gobillon & Anne Laferrère, 2008. "The effect of widowhood on housing and location choices," Working Papers 154, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED).
  2. Corinne Mette, . "Wellbeing and dependency among European elderly: The role of social integration," Working Papers 2005-12, FEDEA.
  3. José M. Labeaga & Xisco Oliver & Amedeo Spadaro, . "Measuring Changes in Health Capital," Working Papers 2005-15, FEDEA.
  4. José M. Labeaga & Ester Martínez Ros, 2003. "Persistence And Ability In The Innovation Decisions," Business Economics Working Papers wb030101, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía de la Empresa.
  5. Namkee Ahn & Juan Ramón García & José A. Herce, . "Demographic Uncertainty and Health Care Expenditure in Spain," Working Papers 2005-07, FEDEA.

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