International comparison of household asset allocation: Micro-evidence from cross-country comparisons

2020-03-19

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Xiaomeng Lu; Jiaojiao Guo*; Li Gan;Emerging Markets Review;2020年3月

Asset allocation, an important part of household finance, attracts constant attention across countries. Due to the differences between countries, asset allocation presents different characteristics in various countries. This paper compares and analyzes the differences in household asset allocation around the world based on the data of 23 developing and developed countries, such as China, the United States, 20 EU countries, and Australia, at the micro-level. This paper finds that in all of these countries, except for the United States, housing assets often occupy a large proportion of household total assets, which we give the name ‘Valuing Housing’, mainly attributed to the high housing value-to-income ratios (especially in developing countries). Further analysis shows that, with the increase in household income, the proportion of housing assets in most countries presents an inverted ‘U' shape, which first increases and then decreases, and where the inflection point appears in the top 20% of households. Also, with increases in income, China, the United States, and some other countries see an increasing proportion of financial assets. The top 20% of households tend to invest in financial assets. In addition, as the ages of household heads increase, the proportion of housing assets tends to first rise and then level off, and that of financial assets tends to first decrease and then level off. The conclusions of this paper help to better understand the differences in the allocation of household assets across countries and explain the underlying causes.