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What Explains the Gender Gap in Wealth? Evidence from Administrative Data

Jaanika Meriküll, Merike Kukk, Tairi Rõõm

NBER Working Paper No. 26920
Issued in April 2020
NBER Program(s):Asset Pricing

This paper studies the gender gap in net wealth. We use administrative data on wealth that are linked to the Estonian Household Finance and Consumption Survey, which provides individual-level wealth data for all household types. We find that the unconditional gender gap in mean wealth is 45% and that it is caused by large wealth disparities in the upper end of the wealth distribution. The structure of assets owned by men is more diversified than that for women. Men own more business assets and vehicles, while women own more deposits. The gender gaps in these asset components cannot be explained by observable characteristics. For partner-headed households the raw gender gaps across deciles are mostly in favour of men, and more strongly so for married couples, indicating that resources are not entirely pooled within households. For single-member households the raw gaps across quantiles are partially in favour of women. Accounting for observable characteristics renders the unexplained parts of the gaps mostly insignificant for all household types.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26920

Forthcoming: What Explains the Gender Gap in Wealth? Evidence from Administrative Data, Jaanika Meriküll, Merike Kukk, Tairi Rõõm. in Measuring and Understanding the Distribution and Intra/Inter-Generational Mobility of Income and Wealth, Chetty, Friedman, Gornick, Johnson, and Kennickell. 2020

 
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