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INEQUALITIES IN HOUSEHOLD
WEALTH AND FINANCIAL
INSECURITY OF HOUSEHOLDS
OECD-EC POLICY WEBINAR | 6TH JULY 2021
Carlotta Ba...
© OECD |
New OECD wealth data and Policy Brief
Wealth Inequalities and Financial Insecurity of Households
Update of the OE...
1. New evidence on wealth inequality
© OECD |
Inequality in household wealth is very high
Wealth Inequalities and Financial Insecurity of Households
Share of t...
© OECD |
Household wealth became more concentrated
in many – but not all – OECD countries
Percentage point change in share...
© OECD |
The composition of household wealth varies
significantly across the wealth distribution
Wealth Inequalities and F...
2. Focus on household financial insecurity
(income and wealth jointly)
© OECD |
Nearly one-in-ten lower-income households were
over-indebted at the onset of the COVID crisis
Share of lower-inco...
© OECD |
In the run-up to the crisis, two out of five lower-
income individuals lacked sufficient liquid financial
buffers...
© OECD |
The financial situation of indebted lower-income
households has often grown more precarious
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
50...
© OECD |
What policy makers can do…
Support vulnerable households accumulate wealth:
 Develop attractive savings schemes ...
© OECD |
Thank you!
Carlotta.Balestra@oecd.org
Michael.Forster@oecd.org
Kamil.Kouhen@oecd.org (Data Manager)
oe.cd/wdd
oe....
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Policy webinar on Inequalities in Household Wealth and Financial Insecurity of Households - Carlotta Balestra

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This webinar, jointly organised by the OECD and EC DG Employment, presented new comparative measures of household wealth distribution as well as the key findings from the last OECD policy brief on “Inequalities in household wealth and financial insecurity of households”. The OECD Wealth Distribution Database (WDD) contains comparative statistics on the extent of wealth concentration across OECD countries, based on harmonised wealth microdata. The brief analyses the most recent levels and longer-term trends in the distribution of financial and non-financial wealth and its composition at the top and the bottom of the distribution. It looks at the availability of liquid wealth holdings for poorer households as a buffer to draw in exceptional circumstances such as the current crisis, to ensure stable living conditions and guarantee financial security. Finally, it discusses policy options to help counteract high and rising wealth inequality.

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Policy webinar on Inequalities in Household Wealth and Financial Insecurity of Households - Carlotta Balestra

  1. 1. INEQUALITIES IN HOUSEHOLD WEALTH AND FINANCIAL INSECURITY OF HOUSEHOLDS OECD-EC POLICY WEBINAR | 6TH JULY 2021 Carlotta Balestra Inequalities Unit OECD WISE Centre
  2. 2. © OECD | New OECD wealth data and Policy Brief Wealth Inequalities and Financial Insecurity of Households Update of the OECD WDD, available from today on Oecd.Stat OECD WISE Policy Brief 1. Levels and recent trends in household wealth inequality; 2. Focus on household financial insecurity – income and wealth jointly at the bottom of the distribution Balestra, C. et al. (forthcoming 2021), “Inequalities in household wealth – Trends, Drivers and Policy Implications”, OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers.  Lack of liquidity  Over-indebtedness
  3. 3. 1. New evidence on wealth inequality
  4. 4. © OECD | Inequality in household wealth is very high Wealth Inequalities and Financial Insecurity of Households Share of total net wealth, 2018 or latest 5 least unequal countries 5 most unequal countries Source: OECD Wealth Distribution Database, https://oe.cd/wealth. • Across the OECD, the wealthiest 10% of households hold 52% of total net wealth • This compares with 24% of total income held by the 10% of people at the top of the income distribution • The bottom 40% of households hold 3% of total net wealth on average • Country-rankings are affected by methodological issues (e.g. treatment of pension wealth; accurate capture of the top of the distribution)
  5. 5. © OECD | Household wealth became more concentrated in many – but not all – OECD countries Percentage point change in share of total net wealth, OECD average, 2010-2018 Wealth Inequalities and Financial Insecurity of Households • Average net wealth levels have grown virtually everywhere in the past decade, but not everyone benefitted equally from this growth • Greater concentration at the top in a majority of countries, esp. in UK, Spain and the Slovak Republic (+ 4.7 p.p. or more) • Lower concentration at the top esp. in Austria and Germany (- 3.7 p.p. or more) Source: OECD Wealth Distribution Database, https://oe.cd/wealth. -2 -1 0 1 2 Bottom 40% Next 50% Top 10% (↗)
  6. 6. © OECD | The composition of household wealth varies significantly across the wealth distribution Wealth Inequalities and Financial Insecurity of Households • Non-financial wealth is by far the most important type of asset across the wealth distribution • Financial wealth accounts for larger shares of total assets at the top • Debt is particularly significant for households in the bottom 40% of the distribution. • The portfolio structure has changed over time Share of total assets, OECD average, 2018 or latest 82% 83% 61% 18% 17% 39% -54% -14% -6% -60% -40% -20% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Bottom 40% Next 50% Top 10% Non-financial assets Financial assets Debt Source: OECD Wealth Distribution Database, https://oe.cd/wealth.
  7. 7. 2. Focus on household financial insecurity (income and wealth jointly)
  8. 8. © OECD | Nearly one-in-ten lower-income households were over-indebted at the onset of the COVID crisis Share of lower-income households with debt-to-income ratio higher than 3 Source: OECD Wealth Distribution Database; OECD computations based on the HFCS and on the LWS. • If a household’s debt load is too high, a fall in income is more likely to affect its ability to keep up with repayments • Large cross-country variation • In 5 out of the 7 countries with available data since the global financial crisis, levels of over-indebtedness have increased 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% Around 2018 (↗) Mid-2000s
  9. 9. © OECD | In the run-up to the crisis, two out of five lower- income individuals lacked sufficient liquid financial buffers to cope with a three weeks’ loss of income Share of lower-income individuals with insufficient liquid financial buffers Source: OECD Wealth Distribution Database; OECD computations based on the HFCS. • During the first 6 months of the COVID-19 crisis, more than one in four lower-income respondents has used their savings or sold assets to mitigate financial hardship (OECD RtM) • A quarter of lower-income individuals both lack sufficient liquid buffers and is income poor • Younger people, single parents and those living in large households are more likely to lack liquid buffers 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80%
  10. 10. © OECD | The financial situation of indebted lower-income households has often grown more precarious 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Around 2018 Around 2010 Share of lower-income indebted households with liquid financial buffers less than 5% of their debt load Source: OECD computations based on the HFCS and LWS. • Two out of five lower- income indebted households have liquid assets less than the equivalent of 5% of their debt • Over the past decade, this share has increased in most countries
  11. 11. © OECD | What policy makers can do… Support vulnerable households accumulate wealth:  Develop attractive savings schemes for small savers;  Strengthen financial literacy;  Review design of asset tests;  Design equitable homeownership support programmes;  Consider schemes of minimum capital endowments for young adults. Ensure progressivity of tax and spending so that all wealthy households contribute to financing of public services:  Adequately tax personal capital income;  Make better use of well-designed inheritance and gift taxation;  Ensure wealth taxes are well-designed and levied on the wealthiest;  Limit opportunities for tax planning and avoidance, and tax evasion;  Investigate ways to tax wealth transfers on a lifetime basis.
  12. 12. © OECD | Thank you! Carlotta.Balestra@oecd.org Michael.Forster@oecd.org Kamil.Kouhen@oecd.org (Data Manager) oe.cd/wdd oe.cd/wealth

This webinar, jointly organised by the OECD and EC DG Employment, presented new comparative measures of household wealth distribution as well as the key findings from the last OECD policy brief on “Inequalities in household wealth and financial insecurity of households”. The OECD Wealth Distribution Database (WDD) contains comparative statistics on the extent of wealth concentration across OECD countries, based on harmonised wealth microdata. The brief analyses the most recent levels and longer-term trends in the distribution of financial and non-financial wealth and its composition at the top and the bottom of the distribution. It looks at the availability of liquid wealth holdings for poorer households as a buffer to draw in exceptional circumstances such as the current crisis, to ensure stable living conditions and guarantee financial security. Finally, it discusses policy options to help counteract high and rising wealth inequality.

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