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Gender-specific patterns of wealth accumulation: the Austrian example

Original Citation

Lechinger, V. (2023) Gender-specific patterns of wealth accumulation: the Austrian example. INEQ Working Paper Series, 25. WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna.


This paper examines the role of socio-demographic differences between men and women and how they contribute to the gender wealth gap (GWG) in Austria. Applying RIF regression and decomposition models on the third wave of the Austrian HCFS, it investigates how gender-specific observable characteristics influence the net wealth distribution at different quantiles. Incorporating distributional statistics beyond the mean, namely the 25th, median, 75th and 90th percentile, the results depict that average differences in endowments affect the accumulation of wealth differently. Variations in human capital, variables related to occupational classes, income as well as family type have the strongest explanatory power for the GWG, with different influences by gender. Since selection into household types affects the composition of the GWG, additional applications of reweighting techniques account for segregation effects in the heterogeneous sample of women. With the use of inverse probability weights the paper shows that women in couple households experience a marriage wealth premium, i.e. the GWG increases significantly if married women are matched to fit the characteristics of women living in one-adult households. The combined findings suggest the existence of systematic gender differences in wealth levels, highlighting the need for a more detailed analysis at the individual level and for corresponding data availability.

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