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Household Saving and Portfolio Change: Evidence from the 1983-89 SCF Panel

  • Kennickell, Arthur B
  • Starr-McCluer, Martha

There are few sources of high-quality data on the dynamics of wealth accumulation. This paper uses newly available data from the 1983-89 panel of the Survey of Consumer Finances to examine household saving and portfolio change over the 1980s. The authors main findings are as follows. First, median household wealth rose modestly over the period. Second, while overall wealth inequality increased, households in the top 1 percent of the wealth distribution in 1983 saw their share of total wealth decline, probably reflecting turnover among the very wealthy. Third, although age, income, and initial wealth had significant effects in regressions on household saving, a large part of the variation in saving was unexplained. Finally, there were clear life-cycle patterns in the portfolios of assets and liabilities held by households, with younger households acquiring homes, businesses and all types of debts, and older households divesting themselves of these assets and debts. Copyright 1997 by The International Association for Research in Income and Wealth.

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Article provided by International Association for Research in Income and Wealth in its journal Review of Income & Wealth.

Volume (Year): 43 (1997)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 381-99

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Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:43:y:1997:i:4:p:381-99
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  1. Joseph Lupton & James P. Smith, 1999. "Marriage, Assets, and Savings," Working Papers 99-12, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  2. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1994. "Do Saving Incentives Work?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 85-180.
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