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Early Life Conditions and Financial Risk-taking in Older Age

Author

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  • Loretti Dobrescu

    (School of Economics and ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research, Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales)

  • Dimitris Christelis

    (CSEF, Dept. of Economics, University of Naples Federico II)

  • Alberto Motta

    (School of Economics, Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales)

Abstract

Using life-history survey data from eleven European countries, we investigate whether childhood conditions, such as socioeconomic status, cognitive abilities and health problems influence portfolio choice and risk attitudes later in life. After controlling for the corresponding conditions in adulthood, we find that superior cognitive skills in childhood (especially mathematical abilities) are positively associated with stock and mutual fund ownership. Childhood socioeconomic status, as indicated by the number of rooms and by having at least some books in the house during childhood, is also positively associated with the ownership of stocks, mutual funds and individual retirement accounts, as well as with the willingness to take financial risks. On the other hand, less risky assets like bonds are not affected by early childhood conditions. We find only weak effects of childhood health problems on portfolio choice in adulthood. Finally, favourable childhood conditions affect the transition in and out of risky asset ownership, both by making divesting less likely and by facilitating investing (i.e., transitioning from non-ownership to ownership).

Suggested Citation

  • Loretti Dobrescu & Dimitris Christelis & Alberto Motta, 2012. "Early Life Conditions and Financial Risk-taking in Older Age," Working Papers 201208, ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), Australian School of Business, University of New South Wales.
  • Handle: RePEc:asb:wpaper:201208
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. J. Michael Collins & Jeff Larrimore & Carly Urban, 2021. "Does Access to Bank Accounts as a Minor Improve Financial Capability? Evidence from Minor Bank Account Laws," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2021-075, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Dobrescu, L.I. & Smith, J.P., 2016. "The HRS Around the World Surveys," Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, in: Piggott, John & Woodland, Alan (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Population Aging, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 993-1018, Elsevier.
    4. Inmaculada Aguiar-Díaz & María Victoria Ruiz-Mallorqui, 2022. "Private Health Insurance and Financial Risk Taking in Spain—The Moderating Effect of Subjective Risk Tolerance," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(23), pages 1-13, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Portfolio Choice; Childhood; Socioeconomic Status; Cognition; Health; Financial Risk;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities

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