7/2020 Merike Kukk, Jaanika Meriküll and Tairi Rõõm. The gender wealth gap in Europe: A comparative study using a model averaging methodology

Working Papers of Eesti Pank 7/2020

There is abundant evidence on the gender wage gaps across countries, but much less is known about the gender differences in personal wealth. This paper provides comparative estimates of the gender wealth gaps for 21 European countries, employing data from the Household Finance and Consumption Survey. A common problem for studies focusing on this topic is that the data on wealth are usually provided at the household level and not at the individual level. This means it is only possible to estimate gender wealth gaps for single-person households. To overcome this constraint, we propose a novel approach using a model averaging methodology to predict individualised wealth data for multi-person households. We find that the gender wealth gaps tend to be in favour of men in the whole population, especially when estimated at the top of the wealth distribution. In contrast, the estimated gaps in the subset of single-person households tend to be statistically insignificant. The country-level gender wealth gaps are correlated with overall wealth inequality but not with gender gaps in pay and employment.

JEL Codes: D31, G51, J16, J71

Keywords: gender gap, imputation, model averaging, wealth distribution, inequality, intra-household allocation of wealth, household finance, Europe

DOI: 10.23656/25045520/072020/0181

Authors’ emails: merike.kukk [at] taltech.ee, jaanika.merikull [at] ut.ee, tairi.room [at] eestipank.ee.

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