Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 643–663 | Cite as

Do the elderly reduce housing equity? An international comparison

  • Maria Concetta Chiuri
  • Tullio JappelliEmail author
Original Paper


We explore the pattern of elderly homeownership using 60 microeconomic surveys on about 300,000 individuals residing in 15 OECD countries. In all countries, the survey is repeated over time, permitting construction of an international dataset of repeated cross-sectional data. We find that ownership rates decline considerably after age 60. However, a large part of the decline depends on cohort effects. Adjusting for them, we find that ownership rates start falling after age 70 and reach a percentage point per year decline after age 75. We find that differences across country ownership trajectories are correlated with indicators measuring market regulation degree.


Homeownership Wealth decumulation Aging 

JEL Classification

G2 R2 



We thank for the helpful comments the editor, two anonymous referees, Patrick Bolton, Andrea Brandolini, Janet Gornick, Ailsa Roell, Timothy Smeeding, Ernesto Villanueva, and participants at the CSEF-IGIER Symposium on Economics and Institutions (Anacapri, 24–28 June 2007), the 2007 Aldi Hagenaars Memorial Lecture (Luxembourg, 29 June 2007), and the LWS Final Conference: Enhancing Comparative Research on Household Finance (Bank of Italy, 5–7 July 2007). This work has been supported in part by the European Union under contracts HPRN-CT-2002-00235 (Economics of Aging in Europe–AGE) and by the Italian Ministry of Universities and Research (MUR).


  1. Börsch-Supan A (1994) Aging in Germany and the United States: international comparisons. In: Wise DA (ed) Studies in the economics of aging. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 291Google Scholar
  2. Chiuri MC, Jappelli T (2003) Financial market imperfections and home ownership: a comparative study. Eur Econ Rev 47(5):857–875CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Crossley T, Ostrovsky Y (2003) A synthetic cohort analysis of Canadian housing careers. Social and economic dimensions of an aging population research papers, no. 107. Mc Master University, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  4. Cunningham CR, Engelhardt GV (2008) Housing capital-gains taxation and homeowner mobility: evidence from the taxpayer relief act of 1997. J Urban Econ 63(3):803–815CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Davidoff T (2004) Maintenance and the home equity of the elderly. Fisher center for real estate and urban economics paper no. 03-288. University of California, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  6. Davidoff T, Welke G (2007) Selection and moral hazard in the reverse Mortgage market. Mimeo. UC Berkeley, Berkeley CAGoogle Scholar
  7. Deaton A (1997) The analysis of household surveys: a microeconometric approach to development policy. The John Hopkins University Press, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  8. Diamond PA, Hausman JA (1984) Individual retirement and saving behavior. J Public Econ 23(1–2):81–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Engelhardt GV (2008) Social security and elderly homeownership. J Urban Econ 63(1):280–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ermisch JF, Jenkins SP (1999) Retirement and housing adjustment in later life: evidence from the British household panel survey. Labour Econ 6(2):311–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Feinstein J, McFadden D (1989) The dynamics of housing demand by the elderly: wealth, cash flow and demographic effects. In: Wise DA (ed) The economics of aging. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 55–91Google Scholar
  12. Glaeser E, Shleifer A (2002) Legal origins. Q J Econ 117(4):1193–1229CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hurd MD (1987) Savings of the elderly and desired bequests. Am Econ Rev 77(3):298–312Google Scholar
  14. Hurst E, Stafford F (2004) Home is where the equity is: mortgage refinancing and household consumption. J Money Credit Bank 36:985–1014CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. La Porta R, Lopez-de-Silanes F, Shleifer A (1998) Law and finance. J Polit Econ 106:1113–1155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Masson A (1986) A cohort analysis of wealth-age profiles generated by a simulation model in France (1949–75). Econ J 96(381):173–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mirer TW (1975) The wealth-age relation among the aged. Am Econ Rev 69(3):435–443Google Scholar
  18. Mitchell OS, Piggott J (2004) Unlocking housing equity in Japan. J Jpn Int Econ 18(4):466–505CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mitchell OS, Piggott J, Sherris M, Yow S (2006) Financial innovation for an aging world. In: Kent C, Park A, Rees D (eds) Demography and financial markets. Pegasus, Chandler, pp 299–336Google Scholar
  20. Nicoletti G, Scarpetta S (2003) Regulation, productivity and growth: OECD evidence. Econ Policy 18(36):9–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. OECD (2002) Revenue statistics 1965–2001. OECD, ParisGoogle Scholar
  22. Ortalo-Magné F, Rady S (1999) Boom in, bust out: young households and the housing price cycle. Eur Econ Rev 43(4–6):755–766CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ortalo-Magné F, Rady S (2006) Housing market dynamics: on the contribution of income shocks and credit constraints. Rev Econ Stud 73:459–485CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Shorrocks AF (1975) The age–wealth relationship: a cross-section and cohort analysis. Rev Econ Stat 57(2):155–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Tatsiramos K (2006) Residential mobility and the housing adjustment of older European households in Europe. IZA Working Paper no. 2435, BonnGoogle Scholar
  26. Tsatsaronis K, Zhu H (2004) What drives housing price dynamics: cross-country evidence. BIS Q Rev March:65–78Google Scholar
  27. UNESCO (1997) International standard classification of education. UNESCO, ParisGoogle Scholar
  28. Venti SF, Wise DA (2002) Aging and housing equity. In: Bodie Z, Hammond P, Mitchell O (eds) Innovations in retirement financing. University of Pennsylvania Press, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  29. Venti SF, Wise DA (2004) Aging and housing equity: another look. In: Wise DA (ed) Perspectives in the economics of aging. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 9–48Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of Bari, CSEFBariItaly
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of Naples Federico II, CSEFNaplesItaly

Personalised recommendations