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Equity culture and the distribution of wealth

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  • Bilias, Yannis
  • Georgarakos, Dimitris
  • Haliassos, Michael

Abstract

Wider participation in stockholding is often presumed to reduce wealth inequality. We measure and decompose changes in US wealth inequality between 1989 and 2001, a period of considerable spread of equity culture. Inequality in equity wealth is found to be important for net wealth inequality, despite equity’s limited share. Our findings show that reduced wealth inequality is not a necessary outcome of the spread of equity culture. We estimate contributions of stockholder characteristics to levels and inequality in equity holdings, and we distinguish changes in configuration of the stockholder pool from changes in the influence of given characteristics. Our estimates imply that both the 1989 and the 2001 stockholder pools would have produced higher equity holdings in 1998 than were actually observed for 1998 stockholders. This arises from differences both in optimal holdings and in financial attitudes and practices, suggesting a dilution effect of the boom followed by a cleansing effect of the downturn. Cumulative gains and losses in stockholding are shown to be significantly influenced by length of household investment horizon and portfolio breadth but, controlling for those, use of professional advice is either insignificant or counterproductive. --

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Financial Studies (CFS) in its series CFS Working Paper Series with number 2005/20.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:cfswop:200520

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Keywords: Wealth distribution; inequality; stockholding; equity culture;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Yannis Bilias & Dimitris Georgarakos & Michael Haliassos, 2010. "Portfolio Inertia and Stock Market Fluctuations," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 42(4), pages 715-742, 06.
  2. Dimitrios Christelis & Dimitris Georgarakos & Michael Haliassos, 2008. "Economic Integration and Mature Portfolios," CSEF Working Papers 194, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 23 Jan 2013.
  3. Michael Haliassos & Dimitris Christelis & Dimitris Georgarakos, 2010. "Differences in Portfolios across Countries: Economic Environment versus Household Characteristics," MEA discussion paper series 10204, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  4. Hackethal, Andreas & Haliassos, Michalis & Jappelli, Tullio, 2009. "Financial Advisors: A Case of Babysitters?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7235, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Dimitrios Christelis & Dimitris Georgarakos, 2008. "Investing at Home and Abroad: Different Costs, Different People?," CSEF Working Papers 188, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 10 Jan 2013.

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