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Examining the Gender Wealth Gap in Germany

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  • Sierminska, Eva

    (LISER (CEPS/INSTEAD))

  • Frick, Joachim R.

    (DIW Berlin)

  • Grabka, Markus M.

    (DIW Berlin)

Abstract

Welfare-oriented analyses of economic outcome measures such as income and wealth generally rest on the assumption of pooled and equally shared resources among all household members. Yet the lack of individual-level data hampers the distribution of income and wealth within the household context. Based on unique individual-level wealth data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), this paper challenges the implicit assumption of internal redistribution by considering an alternative definition of the aggregation unit and by controlling its effect on distribution and inequality analysis. We find empirical evidence for a significant gender wealth gap of about 30,000 euros in Germany, which amounts to almost 50,000 euros for married partners. Decomposition analyses reveal that this gap is mostly driven by differences in characteristics between men and women, the most important factor being the individual’s own income and labor market experience, and particularly so at the bottom and top of the wealth distribution. However, this finding can only be shown with nonparametric decomposition techniques. Differences for those in the middle of the distribution appear to be mostly driven by the wealth function, i.e., the way in which women transform their characteristics into wealth.

Suggested Citation

  • Sierminska, Eva & Frick, Joachim R. & Grabka, Markus M., 2008. "Examining the Gender Wealth Gap in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 3573, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3573
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    Cited by:

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    2. Pedro Salas-Rojo & Juan Gabriel Rodríguez, 2021. "The distribution of wealth in Spain and the USA: the role of socioeconomic factors," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 389-421, September.
    3. Pedro Salas-Rojo & Juan Gabriel Rodríguez, 2019. "The distribution of wealth in the U.S. and Spain: the role of socio-economic factors," Working Papers 506, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    4. Peter Lindner, 2015. "Factor decomposition of the wealth distribution in the euro area," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 42(2), pages 291-322, May.
    5. Hans Fehr & Manuel Kallweit & Fabian Kindermann, 2009. "Marital Risk, Family Insurance, and Public Policy," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 226, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    6. Wyrwich, Michael, 2013. "Can socioeconomic heritage produce a lost generation with regard to entrepreneurship?," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 28(5), pages 667-682.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    gender; wealth inequality; wealth gap; SOEP;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D69 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Other
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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