1/2020 Merike Kukk, W. Fred van Raaij. Joint and individual savings within families: evidence from bank accounts

Working Papers of Eesti Pank 1/2020

In this paper, we investigate the ownership of financial assets within families and how pooling affects the individual savings of the partners. We use anonymised monthly transactional data from ING Bank to observe the financial data of Dutch couples for 2014–2016. We find that savings are quite equally allocated in almost half of households but in one-fifth of households there is only one partner who owns an individual account. The estimations show that joint savings contribute to a more equal division of savings since they are held equally. However, we find larger differences in individual savings among partners who pool, suggesting that the use of joint savings does not lead to individual savings being more evenly distributed, but rather to the opposite. The pattern is more apparent for households in their 20s and for saving accounts. The results of the study highlight the need to understand how families make decisions about applying the sharing rule to joint and individual savings.

JEL Codes: G51, D13, D14, D31

Keywords: household, savings, financial assets, financial management, allocation of resources in households, sharing rule, pooling, joint and separate/individual assets, bank and savings accounts

The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of Eesti Pank or the Eurosystem.