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Housing, wealth accumulation and wealth distribution: Evidence and stylized facts

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  • Orsetta Causa
  • Nicolas Woloszko
  • David Leite

Abstract

This paper produces new evidence and stylised facts on housing, wealth accumulation and wealth distribution, relying on an in-depth analysis of micro-based data on household wealth across OECD countries. The analysis addresses several questions: i) How is homeownership and housing tenure distributed across the population along various socio-economic characteristics such as income, wealth and age? What is the weight of housing in households’ balance sheets and how does this vary across socio-economic groups? ii) What is the incidence of mortgage debt across households and how does this vary across socio-economic groups? What is the impact of mortgage debt on access to homeownership and wealth accumulation, and on debt overburden and financial risks among vulnerable groups? iii) Is housing a vehicle for wealth accumulation? Can it be a barrier to residential mobility? iv) Is there a link between homeownership and wealth inequality? Between inequality in housing wealth and in total wealth? A key policy issue addressed in this paper is whether and how housing-related policies affect wealth distribution. Another important issue is whether housing-related policies raise potential trade-offs between equity, or inequality reduction, and other policy objectives such as employment and productivity growth as well as macroeconomic resilience. Informed by the stylised facts and existing evidence, this paper discusses preliminary policy implications of housing reform to promote inclusiveness and social mobility, to enhance efficiency in the allocation of labour and capital and to strengthen macroeconomic resilience.

Suggested Citation

  • Orsetta Causa & Nicolas Woloszko & David Leite, 2019. "Housing, wealth accumulation and wealth distribution: Evidence and stylized facts," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1588, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:1588-en
    DOI: 10.1787/86954c10-en
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1787/86954c10-en
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    household portfolio; housing; inequality; intergenerational wealth transfers; mobility; mortgage debt; progressivity; prudential regulation; taxes; wealth accumulation; wealth distribution;

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D15 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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