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

Author

Listed:
  • Eva Sierminska
  • Andrea Brandolini

    () (Bank of Italy)

  • Timothy M. Smeeding

    (Center for Policy Research, Syracuse University)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Eva Sierminska & Andrea Brandolini & Timothy M. Smeeding, 2007. "Cross-National Comparison of Income and Wealth Status in Retirement: First Results From the Luxembourg Wealth Study (LWS)," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2007-03, Center for Retirement Research, revised Feb 2007.
  • Handle: RePEc:crr:crrwps:wp2007-03
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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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Maria Chiuri & Tullio Jappelli, 2010. "Do the elderly reduce housing equity? An international comparison," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(2), pages 643-663, March.
    2. Pietro Catte & Nathalie Girouard & Robert Price & Christophe André, 2004. "Housing Markets, Wealth and the Business Cycle," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 394, OECD Publishing.
    3. Tatsiramos, Konstantinos, 2006. "Residential Mobility and Housing Adjustment of Older Households in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 2435, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2004. "Aging and Housing Equity: Another Look," NBER Chapters,in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 127-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Juster, F. Thomas & Smith, James P. & Stafford, Frank, 1999. "The measurement and structure of household wealth," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 253-275, June.
    6. François Ortalo-Magné & Sven Rady, 2006. "Housing Market Dynamics: On the Contribution of Income Shocks and Credit Constraints ," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(2), pages 459-485.
    7. 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.
    8. Eva Sierminska & Andrea Brandolini & Timothy Smeeding, 2006. "The Luxembourg Wealth Study – A cross-country comparable database for household wealth research," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 4(3), pages 375-383, December.
    9. 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.
    10. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 2001. "Choice, Chance, and Wealth Dispersion at Retirement," NBER Chapters,in: Aging Issues in the United States and Japan, pages 25-64 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dekkers, Gijs, 2008. "Are the old poor? A discussion and some cursory evidence," MPRA Paper 29436, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Figari, Francesco & Matsaganis, Manos & Sutherland, Holly, 2011. "The financial well-being of older people in Europe and the redistributive effects of minimum pension schemes," EUROMOD Working Papers EM7/11, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    3. Greet De Vil & Gijs Dekkers & Raphael Desmet, 2010. "Working Paper 10-10 - The long-term adequacy of the Belgian public pension system: An analysis based on the MIDAS model," Working Papers 1010, Federal Planning Bureau, Belgium.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    wealth; cross-national; private holdings; Luxembourg Wealth Study; home ownership; asset poverty; elderly; education; differences in wealth; public pension systems;

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