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The Measurement and Structure of Household Wealth

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  • F. Thomas Juster

    (University of Michigan)

  • James P. Smith

    (RAND)

  • Frank Stafford

    (University of Michigan)

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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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/lab/papers/0402/0402009.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Labor and Demography with number 0402009.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 20 Feb 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0402009

Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 23. Labour Economics, Vol. 6, No. 2, 1999, pp. 253-275.
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  1. Glenn R. Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, . "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 03-95, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  2. Deaton, Angus, 1992. "Understanding Consumption," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288244, September.
  3. F. Thomas Juster & James P. Smith, 2004. "Improving the Quality of Economic Data: Lessons from the HRS and AHEAD," Labor and Demography 0402010, EconWPA.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1995. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-02, McMaster University.
  7. 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.
  8. James P. Smith, 2004. "Inheritances and Bequests," Labor and Demography 0408012, EconWPA.
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