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The Determinants of Household Risky Asset Holdings: Australian Evidence on Background Risk and Other Factors#

  • Buly A Cardak


    (School of Economics, La Trobe University)

  • Roger K. Wilkins


    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne)

We study the portfolio allocation decisions of Australian households using the relatively new Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey. We focus on household allocations to risky financial assets. Our empirical analysis considers a range of hypothesised determinants of these allocations. We find background risk factors posed by labour income uncertainty and health risk are important. Credit constraints and observed risk preferences play the expected role. A positive age gradient is identified for risky asset holdings and home-ownership is associated with greater risky asset holdings. A unifying theme for many of our empirical findings is the important role played by financial awareness and knowledge in determining risky asset holdings. Many non-stockholding households appear to lack the experience and financial literacy that might enable them to benefit from direct investment in stocks.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, La Trobe University in its series Working Papers with number 2008.05.

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Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:trb:wpaper:2008.05
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  1. Heaton, John & Lucas, Deborah, 1997. "Market Frictions, Savings Behavior, And Portfolio Choice," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 76-101, January.
  2. Campbell, John, 2006. "Household Finance," Scholarly Articles 3157877, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  4. Rosen, H.S.Harvey S. & Wu, Stephen, 2004. "Portfolio choice and health status," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 457-484, June.
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  7. Yamashita, Takashi, 2003. "Owner-occupied housing and investment in stocks: an empirical test," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 220-237, March.
  8. Cardak, Buly A. & Wilkins, Roger, 2009. "The determinants of household risky asset holdings: Australian evidence on background risk and other factors," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 850-860, May.
  9. Carol C. Bertaut & Martha Starr-McCluer, 2000. "Household portfolios in the United States," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-26, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  10. Fratantoni, Michael C., 1998. "Homeownership and Investment in Risky Assets," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 27-42, July.
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  13. Baptista, Alexandre M., 2008. "Optimal delegated portfolio management with background risk," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 977-985, June.
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  16. Berkowitz, Michael K. & Qiu, Jiaping, 2006. "A further look at household portfolio choice and health status," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 1201-1217, April.
  17. Fratantoni, Michael C, 2001. "Homeownership, Committed Expenditure Risk, and the Stockholding Puzzle," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(2), pages 241-59, April.
  18. Miles S. Kimball, 1991. "Precautionary Motives for Holding Assets," NBER Working Papers 3586, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Haliassos, Michael & Bertaut, Carol C, 1995. "Why Do So Few Hold Stocks?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(432), pages 1110-29, September.
  20. Carol C. Bertaut, 1998. "Stockholding Behavior Of U.S. Households: Evidence From The 1983-1989 Survey Of Consumer Finances," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 263-275, May.
  21. Stefan Hochguertel, 2003. "Precautionary motives and portfolio decisions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 61-77.
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  23. Pratt, John W & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1987. "Proper Risk Aversion," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 143-54, January.
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