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The Structure and Distribution of Household Wealth in Australia

  • Bruce Headey
  • Gary Marks
  • Mark Wooden

This article uses data from the second wave of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (or HILDA) Survey to provide an overview of the structure and distribution of household wealth in Australia. The data confirm that wealth is very unequally distributed, with the bottom half of the distribution owning less than 10 per cent of total household net worth, while the wealthiest 10 per cent account for 45 per cent. The article also includes an analysis of the factors associated with household wealth that indicates that wealth is significantly related to a range of factors including age, country of birth, parental occupational status, education, marital status, working hours, income, self-reported savings behaviour, a willingness to take risks and even various lifestyle behaviours, such as smoking and alcohol consumption. Copyright 2005 The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.

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Article provided by The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research in its journal The Australian Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 38 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (06)
Pages: 159-175

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ausecr:v:38:y:2005:i:2:p:159-175
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  1. N. Podder & N. C. Kakwani, 1976. "Distribution Of Wealth In Australia," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 22(1), pages 75-92, 03.
  2. Nicole Watson & Mark Wooden, 2004. "Sample Attrition in the HILDA Survey," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 7(2), pages 293-308, June.
  3. J. W. Nevile & N. A. Warren, 1984. "How Much Do We Know About Wealth Distribution in Australia?," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 17(4), pages 23-33.
  4. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1986. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  5. Webster, Elizabeth, 2000. "The growth of enterprise intangible investment in Australia," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 1-25, March.
  6. Phillip B. Levine & Tara Gustafson & Ann D. Velenchik, 1997. "More bad news for smokers? The effects of cigarette smoking on wages," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(3), pages 493-509, April.
  7. Piggott, John, 1984. "The Distribution of Wealth in Australia-A Survey," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 60(170), pages 252-65, September.
  8. van Ours, Jan C., 2004. "A pint a day raises a man's pay; but smoking blows that gain away," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 863-886, September.
  9. Barrett, Garry F, 2002. "The Effect of Alcohol Consumption on Earnings," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 78(240), pages 79-96, March.
  10. Mark Wooden & Simon Freidin & Nicole Watson, 2002. "The Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA)Survey: Wave 1," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 35(3), pages 339-348.
  11. A. W. Dilnot, 1990. "The Distribution and Composition of Personal Sector Wealth in Australia," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 23(1), pages 33-40.
  12. Juster, F. Thomas & Smith, James P. & Stafford, Frank, 1999. "The measurement and structure of household wealth," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 253-275, June.
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