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Racial and Ethnic Differences in Wealth in the Health and Retirement Study

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  • James P. Smith

    (RAND Corporation)

Abstract

This paper examines wealth data in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). In comparison with asset data in other major surveys, the quality of HRS asset data is high. Missing asset data does remain a problem, however, to which future HRS analysts must remain sensitive. Evidence is presented showing that it is no accident that asset data are missing, and solutions for imputing missing data are developed. Finally, racial and ethnic wealth disparities are large. These minority wealth disparities are due in part to differential inheritances and desired bequests as inequities perpetuate themselves across generations: the disparities are also due to lower minority incomes, poorer health, and an excessively narrow definition of wealth that excludes Social Security and employer pensions.

Suggested Citation

  • James P. Smith, 2004. "Racial and Ethnic Differences in Wealth in the Health and Retirement Study," Labor and Demography 0408011, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0408011
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 26. The Journal of Human Resources, Vol. 30, Supplement, pp. S158-S183, 1995
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    File URL: https://econwpa.ub.uni-muenchen.de/econ-wp/lab/papers/0408/0408011.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1995. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 360-399, April.
    2. Richard T. Curtin & Thomas Juster & James N. Morgan, 1989. "Survey Estimates of Wealth: An Assessment of Quality," NBER Chapters,in: The Measurement of Saving, Investment, and Wealth, pages 473-552 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Francine D. Blau & John W. Graham, 1990. "Black-White Differences in Wealth and Asset Composition," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 321-339.
    4. Sobol, Marion Gross, 1979. "Factors Influencing Private Capital Accumulation on the "Eve of Retirement"," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 61(4), pages 585-593, November.
    5. Wolff, Edward N, 1992. "Changing Inequality of Wealth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 552-558, May.
    6. Andrew B. Abel, 1984. "Bequests and Social Security With Uncertain Lifetimes," NBER Working Papers 1372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Terrell, Henry S, 1971. "Wealth Accumulation of Black and White Families: The Empirical Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 26(2), pages 363-377, May.
    8. Smith, James P & Welch, Finis R, 1989. "Black Economic Progress after Myrdal," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 519-564, June.
    9. James P. Smith, 2004. "Assets and Labor Supply," Labor and Demography 0404003, EconWPA.
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    JEL classification:

    • J - Labor and Demographic Economics

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