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How Do Households Allocate Their Assets? Stylized Facts from the Eurosystem Household Finance and Consumption Survey

Listed author(s):
  • Luc Arrondel

    (CNRS-PSE and Banque de France)

  • Laura Bartiloro

    (Banca d’Italia)

  • Pirmin Fessler

    (Oesterreichische Nationalbank)

  • Peter Lindner

    (Oesterreichische Nationalbank)

  • Thomas Y. Mathä

    (Banque centrale du Luxembourg)

  • Cristiana Rampazzi

    (Banca d’Italia)

  • Frédérique Savignac

    (Banque de France)

  • Tobias Schmidt

    (Deutsche Bundesbank)

  • Martin Schürz

    (Oesterreichische Nationalbank)

  • Philip Vermeulen

    (European Central Bank)

Using the first wave of the Eurosystem Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS), a large micro-level data set on households’ balance sheets in fifteen euro-area countries, this paper explores how households allocate their assets. We derive stylized facts on asset participation as well as the portfolio shares of asset holdings and investigate the systematic relationships between household characteristics and asset holding patterns. Real assets make up the bulk of total assets. Whereas ownership of the main residence varies strongly between countries, the value of the main residence tends to be the major asset for homeowners and represents a significant part of total assets in all countries. While almost all households hold safe financial assets, a low share of households holds risky assets. The ownership rates of all asset categories generally increase with wealth (and income). The significance of inheritances for homeownership and holding of other real estate is remarkable. We tentatively link differences in asset holding patterns across countries to differences in institutions.

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Article provided by International Journal of Central Banking in its journal International Journal of Central Banking.

Volume (Year): 12 (2016)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 129-220

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Handle: RePEc:ijc:ijcjou:y:2016:q:2:a:4
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.ijcb.org/

References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Julia Le Blanc & Alessandro Porpiglia & Federica Teppa & Junyi Zhu & Michael Ziegelmeyer, 2014. "Household saving behaviour and credit constraints in the euro area," BCL working papers 93, Central Bank of Luxembourg.
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  6. Olympia Bover & Jose Maria Casado & Sonia Costa & Philip Du Caju & Yvonne McCarthy & Eva Sierminska & Panagiota Tzamourani & Ernesto Villanueva & Tibor Zavadil, 2016. "The Distribution of Debt across Euro-Area Countries: The Role of Individual Characteristics, Institutions, and Credit Conditions," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 12(2), pages 71-128, June.
  7. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1996. "Income Risk, Borrowing Constraints, and Portfolio Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 158-172, March.
  8. Chiuri, Maria Concetta & Jappelli, Tullio, 2003. "Financial market imperfections and home ownership: A comparative study," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(5), pages 857-875, October.
  9. John Y. Campbell, 2006. "Household Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(4), pages 1553-1604, August.
  10. Haliassos, Michael & Bertaut, Carol C, 1995. "Why Do So Few Hold Stocks?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(432), pages 1110-1129, September.
  11. Mathä, Thomas Y. & Porpiglia, Alessandro & Ziegelmeyer, Michael, 2017. "Household wealth in the euro area: The importance of intergenerational transfers, homeownership and house price dynamics," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 1-12.
  12. Pence Karen M., 2006. "The Role of Wealth Transformations: An Application to Estimating the Effect of Tax Incentives on Saving," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-26, July.
  13. SIERMINSKA Eva & DOORLEY Karina, 2012. "Decomposing household wealth portfolios across countries: An age-old question?," LISER Working Paper Series 2012-32, LISER.
  14. Heaton, John & Lucas, Deborah, 2000. "Portfolio Choice in the Presence of Background Risk," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(460), pages 1-26, January.
  15. Donal Cox & Oded Starks, 2005. "Bequests, Inheritances and Family Traditions," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2005-9, Center for Retirement Research, revised Aug 2005.
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