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Wealth distribution within couples

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  • Markus Grabka

    ()

  • Jan Marcus

    ()

  • Eva Sierminska

    ()

Abstract

While most studies on wealth inequality focus on the inequality between households, this paper examines the distribution of wealth within couples. For this purpose, we make use of unique individual level micro data from the German socio-economic panel study. In married and cohabiting couples men’s net worth, on average, is 33,000 euros higher than women’s. We look at five different sets of factors (demographics, income, labor market, inheritances, financial decision-making in the partnership) that might explain this wealth gap. We find that all factors contribute to the explanation of the wealth gap within partnerships, with inheritances and income being particularly relevant. Furthermore, we find that specific characteristics (e.g., self-employment, no migration background, inheritances, high income) that decrease the wealth gap for women increase it for men. For men the respective coefficients are even stronger in absolute terms. When examining intra-partnership financial decision-making, we find the gap to be significantly smaller when the female partner manages the money and larger if the male partner has the last word in financial decisions. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Markus Grabka & Jan Marcus & Eva Sierminska, 2015. "Wealth distribution within couples," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 459-486, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:13:y:2015:i:3:p:459-486
    DOI: 10.1007/s11150-013-9229-2
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    Cited by:

    1. ROSSI Cristina & SIERMINSKA Eva, 2015. "Single again? Saving patterns when widowhood occurs," LISER Working Paper Series 2015-04, LISER.
    2. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0572-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Hayley Fisher & Hamish Low, 2015. "Financial implications of relationship breakdown: Does marriage matter?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 735-769, December.
    4. Anglade, Boaz & Useche, Pilar & Deere, Carmen Diana, 2017. "Decomposing the Gender Wealth Gap in Ecuador," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 19-31.
    5. Alyssa Schneebaum & Miriam Rehm & Katharina Mader & Patricia Klopf & Katarina Hollan, 2014. "The Gender Wealth Gap in Europe," Department of Economics Working Papers wuwp186, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
    6. Giovanni D’Alessio, 2018. "Gender wealth gap in Italy," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 433, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    7. Honohan, Patrick, 2006. "Household Financial Assets in the Process of Development," WIDER Working Paper Series 091, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    8. Metzger, Christoph, 2016. "Intra-household allocation of non-mandatory retirement savings," FZG Discussion Papers 60, University of Freiburg, Research Center for Generational Contracts (FZG).
    9. Philipp M. Lersch & Sergi Vidal, 2016. "My house or our home? Transitions into sole home ownership in British couples," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 35(6), pages 139-166, July.
    10. repec:eee:exehis:v:68:y:2018:i:c:p:132-142 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Namizata Binaté Fofana & Gerrit Antonides & Anke Niehof & Johan Ophem, 2015. "How microfinance empowers women in Côte d’Ivoire," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 1023-1041, December.
    12. Tina Haussen, 2018. "Intra-Household Income Inequality and Preferences for Redistribution," Jena Economic Research Papers 2018-004, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    13. Julia Groiß & Alsyssa Schneebaum & Barbara Schuster, 2017. "Vermögensunterschiede nach Geschlecht in Österreich und Deutschland: Eine Analyse auf der Personenebene," Working Paper Reihe der AK Wien - Materialien zu Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft 168, Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Wien, Abteilung Wirtschaftswissenschaft und Statistik.
    14. Nora Waitkus & Olaf Groh-Samberg, 2017. "The Space of Capital: A Latent Class Analysis of Capital Portfolios in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 938, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    15. Katherine Grace Carman & Angela Hung, 2017. "Household Retirement Saving The Location of Savings Between Spouses," Working Papers WR-1166, RAND Corporation.
    16. Siobhan Austen & Rachel Ong & Sherry Bawa & Therese Jefferson, 2013. "Trends in the Gender Wealth Gap Among Single Households in Australia, 2002-2010," Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre Working Paper series WP1308, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wealth gap; Wealth inequality; Intra-household allocation; Gender; Financial decision-making; SOEP; J2; D13; D31; D69; I31;

    JEL classification:

    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D69 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Other
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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