by Dimitris Christelis, Dimitris Georgarakos, Michael Haliassos; paper prepared for the Observatoire de l'Epargne Européenne, 2007
This paper documents and studies sources of international differences in asset holdings (stocks, private businesses, and homes) among households well into the accumulation stage (aged 50+) in the US, England, and 11 continental European countries. With greater integration of asset and labor markets and policies, households of given characteristics should be holding more similar portfolios for their old age. The authors use econometric techniques to decompose observed international differences in participation rates and in asset holdings into those arising from differences: a) in characteristics of the populations compared and b) in influences of given characteristics. Juxtaposition of econometric results with a range of available indicators suggests that there is considerable room for further harmonization of the institutional and policy framework within which older households manage their assets, within Europe and across the Atlantic.