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Cross-National Differences in Wealth Portfolios at the Intensive Margin: Is There a Role for Policy?

Author

Listed:
  • Doorley, Karina

    () (Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin)

  • Sierminska, Eva

    () (LISER (CEPS/INSTEAD))

Abstract

Using harmonized wealth data and a novel decomposition approach in this literature, 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 the association between household wealth portfolios at the intensive margin (the level of assets) and household characteristics is different from that found at the extensive margin (the decision to own). Characteristics explain most of the cross-country differences in asset and debt levels, except for housing wealth, which displays large unexplained differences for both the under-50 and over-50 populations. However, there are cohort differences in the drivers of wealth levels. We observe that younger households' levels of wealth, given participation, may be more responsive to the institutional setting than mature households. Our findings have important implications, indicating a scope for policies which can promote or redirect investment in housing for both cohorts and which promote optimal portfolio allocation for mature households.

Suggested Citation

  • Doorley, Karina & Sierminska, Eva, 2014. "Cross-National Differences in Wealth Portfolios at the Intensive Margin: Is There a Role for Policy?," IZA Discussion Papers 8306, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8306
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Dan Andrews & Aida Caldera Sánchez & Åsa Johansson, 2011. "Housing Markets and Structural Policies in OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 836, OECD Publishing.
    2. José Mata & José A. F. Machado, 2005. "Counterfactual decomposition of changes in wage distributions using quantile regression," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 445-465.
    3. 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. repec:jid:journl:y:2018:v:25:i:1:p:1-43 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Eva Sierminska & Karina Doorley, 2018. "To own or not to own? Household portfolios, demographics and institutions in a cross-national perspective," Journal of Income Distribution, Ad libros publications inc., vol. 26(1), pages 1-43, March.
    3. repec:nbp:nbpbik:v:48:y:2017:i:3:p:295-326 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    institutions; decomposition; wealth portfolios; 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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