IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Extending the Empirical Basis for Wealth Inequality Research Using Statistical Matching of Administrative and Survey Data

  • Anika Rasner
  • Joachim R. Frick
  • Markus M. Grabka

Social security entitlements are a substantial source of wealth that grows in importance over the individual's lifecycle. Despite its quantitative relevance, social security wealth has been thus far omitted from wealth inequality analyses. In Germany, it is the lack of adequate micro data that accounts for this shortcoming. The two main contributions of this paper are: First, to elaborate a statistical matching approach that complements information on net worth as surveyed in the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), a population representative panel study, with information on social security wealth from the Sample of Active Pension Accounts (SAPA), a large-scale administrative dataset maintained by the German Statutory Pension Insurance. Second, we show to what extent the inclusion of social security wealth affects the level and the distribution of individual net worth as well as overall inequality. The present value of pension entitlements (including entitlements from the statutory pension system as well as from the separate system for civil servants) amounts to 5.6 trillion Euros, which corresponds to an average of 78,500 Euros per person - thus almost doubling the level of net worth. Compared to results based on net worth only, inequality of our amended wealth measure is about 25 percent less. Moreover, we present significant differences in pension entitlements across occupational groups with civil servants gaining most from the inclusion of public pension wealth in the extended wealth meas-ure and self-employed benefiting the least. Overall, our results provide clear indication for the relevance of including the notional wealth held in pension entitlements providing a less biased picture of the level and the socio-economic structure of wealth in Germany. Above and beyond such within-country variation, our findings may also be most relevant for comparative analyses across welfare-regimes.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 359.

in new window

Length: 41 p.
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp359
Contact details of provider: Postal: Mohrenstraße 58, D-10117 Berlin
Phone: xx49-30-89789-671
Fax: xx49-30-89789-109
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Axel Borsch-Supan & Reinhold Schnabel, 1997. "Social Security and Retirement in Germany," NBER Working Papers 6153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. SOEP based publications

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp359. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bibliothek)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.