Ways to richness: Determination of household wealth in 16 countries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study examines determination of wealth among older households from a cross-national comparative perspective. Data obtained from 16 national samples reveal that in all countries household wealth is accumulated through two major mechanisms: labor market income and inter-generational transfers. Higher income and reception of inheritance are likely to increase household net worth. Despite considerable cross-country variation in the distribution of wealth, the effects of income and inheritance on net worth are found to be uniform across societies. Further analysis does not detect any systematic association between household net worth and country-level characteristics or social and taxation policies. Nor does it detect any systematic association between country structural attributes and the ways that wealth is determined and accumulated. The findings are discussed in light of previous research and theory on the topic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1134-1148
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Sociological Review
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013


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