Do financial systems converge? New evidence from household financial assets in selected OECD countries
In: Proceedings of the IFC Conference on "Measuring financial innovation and its impact", Basel, 26-27 August 2008
Many authors underlined the convergence of financial structures towards a model which combines elements of the Anglo Saxon one, where markets prevail, with characteristics of the continental European systems, where intermediaries are predominant. The goal of this paper is to study financial systems convergence through the lens of household asset allocation. We analyze s and ß convergence of total household financial assets and their main components: deposits, securities other than shares, shares and other equity, insurance technical reserves. The novelty of the paper is to exploit a database containing time series since 1980 for nine OECD countries. Using disposable income as a scale variable, we found convergence of household total financial assets, insurance technical reserves and shares and other equity. Weaker results are obtained for convergence of household securities other than shares, and currency and deposits. In a nutshell, financial systems show signals of convergence in asset allocation, but national characteristics persist when households invest in securities and deposits.
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