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The Household Wealth Distribution in Spain: The Role of Housing and Financial Wealth

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  • Francisco Azpitarte

    (Universidade de Vigo)

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    Abstract

    We analyse the distribution of household wealth in Spain using the first wave of the Spanish Survey of Household Finances, conducted by the Bank of Spain in 2002. We study the distribution of the different wealth components and, using inequality decomposition techniques, we assess the contribution of each element to overall wealth inequality. We find that wealth is more unequally distributed than income, while housing wealth is much more evenly distributed than financial wealth. Moreover, we identify two groups of wealth components: one disequalizing group, which includes financial wealth, whose value and portfolio share increase with household wealth; and a second more equalizing one, including housing wealth, whose value increases with wealth, but their share in the portfolio does not. Finally, we show that differences between age groups do not explain why wealth is much more unequally distributed than income. Instead, business and home ownership are factors that clearly contribute to explain this feature.

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    File URL: http://www.ecineq.org/milano/WP/ECINEQ2008-83.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality in its series Working Papers with number 83.

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    Length: 30 pages
    Date of creation: 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2008-83

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    Keywords: Wealth; income; distribution; inequality decomposition.;

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    1. Andrea Brandolini & Giovanni D’Alessio & Luigi Cannari & Ivan Faiella, 2004. "Household Wealth Distribution in Italy in the 1990s," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_414, Levy Economics Institute.
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    3. Wolff, Edward N, 1996. "International Comparisons of Wealth Inequality," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 42(4), pages 433-51, December.
    4. Shorrocks, A F, 1982. "Inequality Decomposition by Factor Components," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 193-211, January.
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    10. Davies, James B. & Shorrocks, Anthony F., 2000. "The distribution of wealth," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 605-675 Elsevier.
    11. Edward N Wolff, 1999. "Wealth Accumulation by Age Cohort in the U.S., 1962–1992: The Role of Savings, Capital Gains and Intergenerational Transfers," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 24(1), pages 27-49, January.
    12. Chantreuil, F. & Trannoy, A., 1999. "Inequality Decomposition Values: the Trade-Off Between Marginality and Consistency," Papers 99-24, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
    13. Mookherjee, Dilip & Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1982. "A Decomposition Analysis of the Trend in UK Income Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 886-902, December.
    14. Lambert, Peter J & Aronson, J Richard, 1993. "Inequality Decomposition Analysis and the Gini Coefficient Revisited," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(420), pages 1221-27, September.
    15. Shorrocks, A F, 1978. "The Measurement of Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 1013-24, September.
    16. Eva Sierminska & Andrea Brandolini & Timothy Smeeding, 2006. "The Luxembourg Wealth Study – A cross-country comparable database for household wealth research," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 375-383, December.
    17. Kessler, Denis & Masson, Andre, 1989. "Bequest and Wealth Accumulation: Are Some Pieces of the Puzzle Missing?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 141-52, Summer.
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    Cited by:
    1. Francisco Azpitarte, 2008. "Measurement and Identification of Asset-Poor Households: A Cross-National Comparison of Spain and the United Kingdom," Working Papers 105, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    2. Francisco Azpitarte, 2011. "Measurement and identification of asset-poor households: a cross-national comparison of Spain and the United Kingdom," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 87-110, March.

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