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To Own or Not to Own? Household Portfolios, Demographics and Institutions in a Cross-National Perspective

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  • Sierminska, Eva

    ()
    (CEPS/INSTEAD)

  • Doorley, Karina

    ()
    (IZA)

Abstract

Using harmonized wealth data and a novel decomposition approach, we show that cohort effects exist in the income profiles of asset and debt portfolios for a sample of European countries, the U.S. and Canada. We find that younger households' participation decisions in assets are more responsive to income than older households. Family structure plays a significant role in explaining cross-country differences for both cohorts. Examining institutional differences, we find that in more financially developed and economically open countries, households are less likely to own housing but more likely to be in debt. Typical mortgage characteristics and mathematical literacy are also correlated with debt participation across countries. These findings have important implications for policy setting during times of financial unease for the young, as well as for the future in helping secure adequate income for the elderly. Our results show that there is scope for policies which promote asset participation for young households and debt participation, where there is a need for consumpation smoothing, for older households.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7734.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7734

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Keywords: wealth portfolios; decomposition; institutions; demographics;

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  1. Dimitris Christelis & Dimitris Georgarakos & Michael Haliassos, 2013. "Differences in Portfolios across Countries: Economic Environment versus Household Characteristics," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(1), pages 220-236, March.
  2. Maria Chiuri & Tullio Jappelli, 2010. "Do the elderly reduce housing equity? An international comparison," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 643-663, March.
  3. Dan Andrews & Aida Caldera Sánchez & Åsa Johansson, 2011. "Housing Markets and Structural Policies in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 836, OECD Publishing.
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