Are Successive Generations Getting Wealthier, and If so, Why?

65 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2011

See all articles by William G. Gale

William G. Gale

Brookings Institution

Karen M. Pence

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Date Written: 2006

Abstract

This paper examines the wealth of successive birth cohorts using data from the 1989-2001 Surveys of Consumer Finances, with two central results. First, older households (aged 55-64, 65-74 or 75-84) in 2001 had more wealth than similarly aged households in 1989, but younger households did not. Second, changes in standard demographic characteristics (marital status, education, years in labor force, health status) can explain most of the divergent trends across age groups. Given the historically large capital gains that accrued during the 1900s, these results raise some intriguing questions issues about the nature of saving and wealth accumulation during that decade.

Keywords: wealth

JEL Classification: D31

Suggested Citation

Gale, William G. and Pence, Karen M., Are Successive Generations Getting Wealthier, and If so, Why? (2006). Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, No. 1, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1754658

William G. Gale (Contact Author)

Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States
202-797-6148 (Phone)
202-797-6181 (Fax)

Karen M. Pence

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

Washington, DC 20551
United States
202-452-2342 (Phone)
202-728-5887 (Fax)

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