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Household portfolios in the UK

Author

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  • James Banks

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Manchester)

  • Tanner, Tanner

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

Abstract

This paper presents a detailed analysis of the composition of household portfolios, using both aggregate and micro-data. Among the key findings are that: Most household wealth is held in the form of housing and pensions. Over time, there has been a shift away from housing towards financial assets, driven largely by the growth in life and pension funds. Liquid financial wealth (excluding life and pension funds) is not predominantly held in risky form. By far the most commonly held asset is an interest-bearing account at a bank or building society account. Of people with positive (liquid) financial wealth, more than half is held in savings accounts. The importance of risky assets in an individual's portfolio varies according to their characteristics. The unconditional portfolio share held in risky assets (i.e. averaged across those with and without any risky assets) rises with both age and total financial wealth. However, most of the variation in unconditional portfolio shares is due to differences in ownership rates as opposed to the proportion of the portfolio held in risky assets. Looking only at the people within each wealth decile who have risky assets, the conditional portfolio share is relatively constant across wealth, suggesting a possible role for entry costs or other fixed costs in explaining portfolio holdings. Multivariate analysis shows that the conditional portfolio share in risky assets actually falls with age as classical portfolio theory would predict. Finally, the tax treatment of savings products has an effect on portfolio choice. Separate probit regressions for the ownership of tax-favoured assets and similar assets without the tax exemption, show that, controlling for other factors, marginal tax rates are important in determining asset ownership. These results are in accordance with those found by Poterba in the US.

Suggested Citation

  • James Banks & Tanner, Tanner, 2000. "Household portfolios in the UK," IFS Working Papers W00/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:00/14
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    File URL: http://www.ifs.org.uk/wps/wp0014.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Nataliya Barasinska & Dorothea Schäfer & Andreas Stephan, 2008. "Financial Risk Aversion and Household Asset Diversification," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 807, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    2. Campbell, John Y. & Cocco, Joao F., 2007. "How do house prices affect consumption? Evidence from micro data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 591-621, April.
    3. Khorunzhina, Natalia, 2013. "Structural estimation of stock market participation costs," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 2928-2942.
    4. Dimitrios Christelis & Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula, 2005. "Wealth and Portfolio Composition," CSEF Working Papers 132, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    5. Jappelli, Tullio & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2003. "Tax incentives and the demand for life insurance: evidence from Italy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1779-1799, August.
    6. James J. McAndrews & Chris Stefanadis, 2002. "The consolidation of European stock exchanges," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 8(Jun).
    7. Michael Haliassos & Alexander Michaelides, 2003. "Portfolio Choice and Liquidity Constraints," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(1), pages 143-177, February.
    8. John Y. Campbell, 2006. "Household Finance," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(4), pages 1553-1604, August.
    9. Michael Haliassos & Christis Hassapis & Alex Karagrigoriou & George Kyriacou & Michalis C. Michael & George Syrichas, 2001. "Assets of Cyprus Households: Lessons from the First Cyprus Survey of Consumer Finances," Working Papers 0205, Central Bank of Cyprus.
    10. Nicolas Sauter & Jan Walliser & Joachim Winter, 2010. "Tax Incentives, Bequest Motives, and the Demand for Life Insurance: Evidence from two Natural Experiments in Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 3040, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Andrew C. Worthington, 2009. "Household Asset Portfolio Diversification: Evidence from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey," Discussion Papers in Finance finance:200908, Griffith University, Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics.
    12. Luca Casolaro & Leonardo Gambacorta & Luigi Guiso, 2005. "Regulation, formal and informal enforcement and the development of the household loan market. Lessons from Italy," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 560, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    13. James M. Poterba, 2001. "Taxation and Portfolio Structure: Issues and Implications," NBER Working Papers 8223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Marianna Brunetti, 2007. "Population Ageing, Household Portfolios and Financial Asset Returns: a Survey of the Literature," Politica economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 171-208.
    15. Graciela Sanromán, 2002. "A Discrete Choice Analysis of the Household Shares of Risky Assets," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0702, Department of Economics - dECON.

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