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Income InequalityEconomic Disparities and the Middle Class in Affluent Countries$
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Janet C. Gornick and Markus Jantti

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780804778244

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804778244.001.0001

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The Fourth Retirement Pillar in Rich Countries

The Fourth Retirement Pillar in Rich Countries

(p.334) Chapter Twelve The Fourth Retirement Pillar in Rich Countries
Income Inequality

Bruce Bradbury

Stanford University Press

Does home ownership cushion against retirement risks or does it distort consumption patterns and fail to improve the non-housing consumption of the elderly? Is it associated with more or less inequality of retirement consumption? Using data from the Luxembourg Wealth Study, this chapter examines the role of home ownership and non-pension saving in providing support for the elderly in eight countries. Home ownership rates among the elderly are very high in some countries and are expected to increase in the others. In Australia, the country with the highest rate of home ownership, wealth from home ownership partly compensates for low pension income, but it also shifts the consumption balance away from non-housing goods. In the United States, home ownership wealth reinforces patterns of income inequality. Home ownership can potentially diversify the risks associated with retirement saving, but, as recent events have shown, this cannot be relied upon.

Keywords:   home ownership, retirement, pensions, asset-based welfare, Luxembourg Wealth Study

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