1887

OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

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

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.

English

Keywords: mobility, household portfolio, inequality, wealth accumulation, wealth distribution, taxes, housing, intergenerational wealth transfers, mortgage debt, prudential regulation, progressivity
JEL: D15: Microeconomics / Household Behavior and Family Economics / Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving; D64: Microeconomics / Welfare Economics / Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers; J61: Labor and Demographic Economics / Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers / Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers; E21: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics / Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy / Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth; G21: Financial Economics / Financial Institutions and Services / Banks; Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages; D31: Microeconomics / Distribution / Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions; H24: Public Economics / Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue / Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies; includes inheritance and gift taxes; D14: Microeconomics / Household Behavior and Family Economics / Household Saving; Personal Finance
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