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Relative Wages in Aging America: Defined Contribution Wealth Inequality: Role of Earnings Shocks, Portfolio Choice, and Employer Contributions

Teresa Ghilarducci (), Joelle Saad-Lessler and Gayle Reznik
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Gayle Reznik: Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA), http://www.economicpolicyresearch.org

No 2017-06, SCEPA working paper series. SCEPA's main areas of research are macroeconomic policy, inequality and poverty, and globalization. from Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA), The New School

Abstract: In the two years after the Great Recession of 2007Ð2009, 64 percent of workers at the top of the earnings distribution, compared to 56 percent of those at the bottom, experienced increases in defined contribution (DC) retirement wealth. We condition DC wealth accumulation on workersÕ position in the earnings distribution using a unique 2-year panel (2009-2011) from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). Earnings losses of 10 percent or more in a personÕs career; non-employment spells; lower employer contributions; and having less diversified portfolios barely affect earners in the top 10 percent of the earnings distribution, but are associated with less DC wealth accumulation for those at the bottom. These differences may contribute to a growing retirement wealth gap.

Keywords: Defined contribution pensions; retirement wealth inequality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J32 J11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-age
Date: 2017-06
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