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To Own or Not to Own? Household Portfolios, Demographics and Institutions in a Cross-National Perspective

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  • Sierminska, Eva

    () (LISER (CEPS/INSTEAD))

  • Doorley, Karina

    () (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin)

Abstract

Using harmonized wealth data and a novel decomposition approach, we show that cohort effects exist in the income profiles of asset and debt portfolios for a sample of European countries, the U.S. and Canada. We find that younger households' participation decisions in assets are more responsive to income than older households. Family structure plays a significant role in explaining cross-country differences for both cohorts. Examining institutional differences, we find that in more financially developed and economically open countries, households are less likely to own housing but more likely to be in debt. Typical mortgage characteristics and mathematical literacy are also correlated with debt participation across countries. These findings have important implications for policy setting during times of financial unease for the young, as well as for the future in helping secure adequate income for the elderly. Our results show that there is scope for policies which promote asset participation for young households and debt participation, where there is a need for consumpation smoothing, for older households.

Suggested Citation

  • Sierminska, Eva & Doorley, Karina, 2013. "To Own or Not to Own? Household Portfolios, Demographics and Institutions in a Cross-National Perspective," IZA Discussion Papers 7734, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7734
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Luc Arrondel & Laura Bartiloro & Pirmin Fessler & Peter Lindner & Thomas Y. Mathä & Cristiana Rampazzi & Frédérique Savignac & Tobias Schmidt & Martin Schürz & Philip Vermeulen, 2016. "How Do Households Allocate Their Assets? Stylized Facts from the Eurosystem Household Finance and Consumption Survey," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 12(2), pages 129-220, June.
    2. 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.
    3. Luigi Guiso & Michael Haliassos & Tullio Jappelli, 2003. "Household stockholding in Europe: where do we stand and where do we go?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 18(36), pages 123-170, April.
    4. Dimitris Christelis & Dimitris Georgarakos & Michael Haliassos, 2013. "Differences in Portfolios across Countries: Economic Environment versus Household Characteristics," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(1), pages 220-236, March.
    5. van Rooij, Maarten & Lusardi, Annamaria & Alessie, Rob, 2011. "Financial literacy and stock market participation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 449-472, August.
    6. Olympia Bover & Jose Maria Casado & Sonia Costa & Philip Du Caju & Yvonne McCarthy & Eva Sierminska & Panagiota Tzamourani & Ernesto Villanueva & Tibor Zavadil, 2016. "The Distribution of Debt across Euro-Area Countries: The Role of Individual Characteristics, Institutions, and Credit Conditions," International Journal of Central Banking, International Journal of Central Banking, vol. 12(2), pages 71-128, June.
    7. Sierminska, Eva M. & Frick, Joachim R. & Grabka, Markus M., 2010. "Examining the gender wealth gap," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 669-690.
    8. Fairlie, Robert W, 1999. "The Absence of the African-American Owned Business: An Analysis of the Dynamics of Self-Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 80-108, January.
    9. William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1994. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Accumulation of Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 145-160, Fall.
    10. SIERMINSKA Eva & ROSSI Cristina, 2016. "Housing Decisions, Family Types and Gender. A cross-national perspective," LISER Working Paper Series 2016-10, LISER.
    11. Alexis Yamokoski & Lisa Keister, 2006. "The Wealth Of Single Women: Marital Status And Parenthood In The Asset Accumulation Of Young Baby Boomers In The United States," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1-2), pages 167-194.
    12. Dan Andrews & Aida Caldera Sánchez & Åsa Johansson, 2011. "Housing Markets and Structural Policies in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 836, OECD Publishing.
    13. Ingvild Almås & Magne Mogstad, 2012. "Older or Wealthier? The Impact of Age Adjustment on Wealth Inequality," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(1), pages 24-54, March.
    14. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. ROSSI Cristina & SIERMINSKA Eva, 2015. "Single again? Saving patterns when widowhood occurs," LISER Working Paper Series 2015-04, LISER.
    2. repec:taf:chosxx:v:32:y:2017:i:2:p:168-185 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Marianna Brunetti & Costanza Torricelli, 2012. "Second Homes: Households' Life Dream or (Wrong) Investment?," CEIS Research Paper 351, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 04 Aug 2012.
    4. Marianna Brunetti & Costanza Torricelli, 2012. "Second Homes: Households' Life Dream or (Wrong) Investment?," CEIS Research Paper 351, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 04 Aug 2012.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    wealth portfolios; decomposition; institutions; demographics;

    JEL classification:

    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • J10 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - General

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