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

Orsetta Causa, Nicolas Woloszko and David Leite Neves ()

No 1588, OECD Economics Department Working Papers from OECD Publishing

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.

Keywords: household portfolio; housing; inequality; intergenerational wealth transfers; mobility; mortgage debt; progressivity; prudential regulation; taxes; wealth accumulation; wealth distribution (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D14 D15 D31 D64 E21 G21 H24 J61 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-12-19
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mac and nep-ure
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