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Cross-National Comparison of Income and Wealth Status in Retirement: First Results From the Luxembourg Wealth Study (LWS)

  • Eva Sierminska
  • Andrea Brandolini

    ()

    (Bank of Italy)

  • Timothy M. Smeeding

    (Center for Policy Research, Syracuse University)

This paper provides a first glance at the role of income and wealth in comparing economic security of older persons in the United States in cross-national perspective. We compare our elders to those in six other rich OECD countries (Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and the United Kingdom). These countries have diverse social policy systems, with respect to both social insurance and public assistance; and they have very different patterns of private wealth holding. The paper is based on a new source of wealth micro data, known as the Luxembourg Wealth Study (LWS). In this paper, we first develop a comparable definition of wealth and net worth across nations and then focus our efforts on the inter-country variation in the composition of income and asset packages for those 65 and over, with respect to the main sources in each package. We examine the structure of income and wealth holdings and their joint distribution; income and asset poverty of the elderly; the importance of home ownership in providing security for the elderly; differences in wealth by education; and we provide an initial glimpse at wealth and income inequality in a comparative perspective. We conclude by comparing the risks associated with private assets to those associated with under-funded public pension systems.

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File URL: http://crr.bc.edu/working-papers/cross-national-comparison-of-income-and-wealth-status-in-retirement-first-results-from-the-luxembourg-wealth-study-lws/
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Paper provided by Center for Retirement Research in its series Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College with number wp2007-03.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2007
Date of revision: Feb 2007
Handle: RePEc:crr:crrwps:wp2007-03
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  1. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2001. "Aging and Housing Equity: Another Look," NBER Working Papers 8608, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Eva Sierminska & Andrea Brandolini & Timothy Smeeding, 2006. "The Luxembourg Wealth Study – A cross-country comparable database for household wealth research," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 4(3), pages 375-383, December.
  3. Pietro Catte & Nathalie Girouard & Robert W.R. Price & Christophe André, 2004. "Housing Markets, Wealth and the Business Cycle," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 394, OECD Publishing.
  4. Ortalo-Magné, François & Rady, Sven, 2005. "Housing Market Dynamics: On the Contribution of Income Shocks and Credit Constraint," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 50, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  5. Annika Sunde�n, 2006. "The Swedish Experience with Pension Reform," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 133-148, Spring.
  6. F. Thomas Juster & James P. Smith & Frank Stafford, 2004. "The Measurement and Structure of Household Wealth," Labor and Demography 0402009, EconWPA.
  7. Maria Concetta Chiuri & Tullio Jappelli, 2006. "Do the elderly reduce housing equity? An international comparison," CSEF Working Papers 158, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  8. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2000. "Choice, Chance, and Wealth Dispersion at Retirement," NBER Working Papers 7521, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Timothy M. Smeeding, 1999. "Social Security Reform: Improving Benefit Adequacy and Economic Security for Women," Center for Policy Research Policy Briefs 16, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  10. Timothy Smeeding, 2006. "Poor People in Rich Nations: The United States in Comparative Perspective," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 69-90, Winter.
  11. Tatsiramos, Konstantinos, 2006. "Residential Mobility and Housing Adjustment of Older Households in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 2435, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. John B. Shoven & Sita N. Slavov, 2006. "Political Risk Versus Market Risk in Social Security," NBER Working Papers 12135, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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