NBER

Alice Henriques Volz

Federal Reserve Board

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Federal Reserve Board

NBER Working Papers and Publications

May 2020Social Security Wealth, Inequality, and Lifecycle Saving
with John Sabelhaus: w27110
Wealth inequality in the US is high and rising, but Social Security is generally not considered in those wealth measures. Social Security Wealth (SSW) is the present value of future benefits that an individual will receive less the present value of future taxes they will pay. When an individual enters the labor force, they generally face a lifetime of taxes to pay before they will receive any benefits, and thus their initial SSW is generally low or negative. As an individual works and pays into the system their SSW grows and generally peaks somewhere around typical Social Security benefit claim ages. The accrual of SSW over the working life is most important for lower-income workers because the progressive Social Security benefit formula means that taxes paid while working are associated w...
March 2020Social Security Wealth, Inequality, and Lifecycle Saving
with John Sabelhaus
in Measuring and Understanding the Distribution and Intra/Inter-Generational Mobility of Income and Wealth, Raj Chetty, John N. Friedman, Janet C. Gornick, Barry Johnson, and Arthur Kennickell, editors
Wealth inequality in the US is high and rising, but Social Security is generally not considered in those wealth measures. Social Security Wealth (SSW) is the present value of future benefits that an individual will receive less the present value of future taxes they will pay. When an individual enters the labor force, they generally face a lifetime of taxes to pay before they will receive any benefits, and thus their initial SSW is generally low or negative. As an individual works and pays into the system their SSW grows and generally peaks somewhere around typical Social Security benefit claim ages. The accrual of SSW over the working life is most important for lower-income workers because the progressive Social Security benefit formula means that taxes paid while working are associated w...
The Distributional Financial Accounts of the United States
with Michael Batty, Jesse Bricker, Joseph Briggs, Sarah Friedman, Danielle Nemschoff, Eric Nielsen, Kamila Sommer
in Measuring and Understanding the Distribution and Intra/Inter-Generational Mobility of Income and Wealth, Raj Chetty, John N. Friedman, Janet C. Gornick, Barry Johnson, and Arthur Kennickell, editors
This paper describes the construction of the Distributional Financial Accounts (DFA), a dataset containing quarterly estimates of the distribution of U.S. household wealth since 1989. The DFA builds on two existing Federal Reserve Board statistical products --- quarterly aggregate measures of household wealth from the Financial Accounts of the United States, and triennial wealth distribution measures from the Survey of Consumer Finances --- to incorporate distributional information into a national accounting framework. The DFA complements other sources by generating distributional statistics that are consistent with macro aggregates by providing quarterly data on a timely basis, and by constructing wealth distributions across demographic characteristics. We encourage policymakers, research...
September 2014Analysis of Wealth Using Micro- and Macrodata: A Comparison of the Survey of Consumer Finances and Flow of Funds Accounts
with Joanne W. Hsu
in Measuring Economic Sustainability and Progress, Dale W. Jorgenson, J. Steven Landefeld, and Paul Schreyer, editors
Researchers use different types of household balance sheet data to study different aspects of lifecycle saving and wealth accumulation behavior. Macro data from the Flow of Funds Accounts (FFA) are produced at a quarterly frequency and are available in a timely manner, but they can only be used to study the behavior of the household sector as a whole. Micro data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) are available every three years and only with a lag, but they can be used to address questions that involve differences in behavior over time and across various types of households. Despite the very different approaches to estimating household net worth, the two data sets show the same general patterns of wealth changes over the past twenty-five years. Areas where the FFA and SCF diverge i...

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