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Wealth distribution in Switzerland and Germany: Evidence from Survey Data

English title Wealth distribution in Switzerland and Germany: Evidence from Survey Data
Applicant Suter Christian
Number 166319
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut de sociologie Université de Neuchâtel
Institution of higher education University of Neuchatel - NE
Main discipline Sociology
Start/End 01.01.2017 - 31.12.2019
Approved amount 241'240.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Sociology
Economics
Political science

Keywords (10)

Vermögensverteilung; Renten; Datenqualität; Subjektives Wohlbefinden; Schweiz; Deutschland; Längsschnittanalyse; Vermögensungleichheit; Migration; Soziale Ungleichheit

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Das Vermögen nimmt in unserer Gesellschaft eine wichtige Stellung ein. Der Vermögensbesitz stellt nicht nur eine Einkommensquelle dar, sondern hat gleichzeitig eine Sicherheitsfunktion, ist ein Zeichen für sozialen Status und politische Macht und kann auf die nächsten Generationen übertragen werden. Erst seit relativ kurzer Zeit haben Fragen zu Vermögen Eingang in Personenbefragungen gefunden.
Lay summary

Das erste Ziel dieses Projekt ist eine Beurteilung der Eignung von Befragungstaten in der Schweiz, um das Vermögen und dessen Verteilung empirisch zu untersuchen. Des Weiteren wird mit dem Vergleich von der Schweiz und Deutschland ein komparativer Ansatz verfolgt. Ein wichtiger Beitrag ist die Schätzung von Pensionsguthaben (erste und zweite Säule). Da die beiden Länder im internationalen Vergleich eine hohe Vermögensungleichheit aufweisen, könnte eine Berücksichtig der Pensionsguthaben diesen Befund  relativieren. Neben diesen methodischen und deskriptiven Teilen befasst sich das Projekt mit dem Zusammenhang von Vermögen mit Migrationsstatus, Lebensereignissen und subjektiver Lebensqualität. Für die Untersuchungen werden verschiedene Längsschnittbefragungen verwendet, namentlich das Deutsche Sozioökonomische Panel (SOEP), das Schweizer Haushaltspanel (SHP), die Befragung zu Einkommen und Lebensbedingungen in der Schweiz (SILC) und die  Befragung Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE).

In einem sozialen Kontext, der sensibel auf die ungleiche Verteilung von wirtschaftlichen Ressourcen reagiert, kommt der Datenqualität bei der Messung von Vermögen eine grosse Bedeutung zu. Durch den vergleichenden Ansatz und die Berücksichtigung verschiedener Datenquellen, zeigt das Projekt das Potential und die Grenzen von Befragungsdaten in diesem Bereich auf und dient als Basis für zukünftige Befragungen.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 03.12.2016

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Comparison of survey data on wealth in Switzerland
Ravazzini Laura, Kuhn Ursina, Brulé Gaël, Suter Christian (2019), Comparison of survey data on wealth in Switzerland, in Journal of Economic and Social Measurement, 44(1), 25-55.
The Four Forms of Wealth and Happiness: How Different Forms of Wealth Affect the Subjective Well-being of the Elderly in Europe
Brulé Gaël, Ravazzini Laura (2019), The Four Forms of Wealth and Happiness: How Different Forms of Wealth Affect the Subjective Well-being of the Elderly in Europe, in Suter Christian, Brulé Gaël (ed.), Springer, Cham, 199-219.
Wealth(s) and Subjective Well-Being
BruléGaël, SuterChristian (2019), Wealth(s) and Subjective Well-Being, Springer, Cham.
Why Wealth Matters More Than Income for Subjective Well-being?
Brulé Gaël, Suter Christian (2019), Why Wealth Matters More Than Income for Subjective Well-being?, Springer, Cham, 1-13.
Buffering Effects for Negative Life Events: The Role of Material, Social, Religious and Personal Resources
KuhnUrsina, BruléGaël (2018), Buffering Effects for Negative Life Events: The Role of Material, Social, Religious and Personal Resources, in Journal of happiness studies, 20(5), 1397-1417.
An intergenerational perspective on the risk of poverty: integrating wealth to measure poverty
SuterChristian, Ravazzini Laura (2018), An intergenerational perspective on the risk of poverty: integrating wealth to measure poverty, in Meeting on Measuring Poverty and Inequality, UNECE, Geneva.
Homeownership and Wealth in Switzerland and Germany
Kuhn Ursina, Grabka Markus (2018), Homeownership and Wealth in Switzerland and Germany, in Farago Peter, Voorpostel Marieke, Tillman Robin (ed.), Springer, Cham, 175-185.
Wealth, Savings and Children among Swiss, German and Australian Families
Ravazzini Laura, Kuhn Ursina (2018), Wealth, Savings and Children among Swiss, German and Australian Families, in Farago Peter, Voorpostel Marieke, Tillman Robin (ed.), Springer, Cham, 161-174.
Household income and wealth among people with a migration background. A comparative perspective of Switzerland and Germany
, Household income and wealth among people with a migration background. A comparative perspective of Switzerland and Germany, Bundesamt für Statistik, Neuchâtel, ?-?.
Inégalités de patrimoine et bien-être subjectif chez les seniors en Europe
Brulé Gaël, Ravazzini Laura, Suter Christian, Inégalités de patrimoine et bien-être subjectif chez les seniors en Europe, in Revue Européenne des Sciences Sociales, 57(2), 81-110.
Wealth Changes and Their Impact on Subjective Well-Being
Halbmeier Christoph, Grabka Markus, Wealth Changes and Their Impact on Subjective Well-Being, Springer, Cham, 401-414.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Fabian Pfeffer, Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Edward Nathan Wolff, New York University United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Wiemer Salverda, University of Amsterdam Netherlands (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Dr. Jenny Chesters, Dr. Jenny Chesters, University of Canberra Australia (Oceania)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Ben Jann (University of Bern) and Prof Robert Fluder (University of Applied Sciences Bern) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Eric Crettaz, Haute école de travail social de la HES-SO // Genève Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Dr. Eva Sierminska, LISER (Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research) Luxembourg (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
HOW DOES WEALTH INEQUALITY INTERFERE INTO THE WORK SPHERE? Talk given at a conference Who are the early retirees in Germany and Switzerland? An investigation considering income, wealth and pension entitlements 10.09.2019 Neuchâtel, Switzerland Grabka Markus;
ISQOLS Talk given at a conference Subjective Well-Being vs Sustsinable Development: Case study of car wealth 04.09.2019 Grenada, Spain Brulé Gaël; Ravazzini Laura; Suter Christian;
Seminario INCASI (International Network for Comparative Analysis of Social Inequalities) on “Indicadores sociales para el análisis comparado de las desigualdades sociales Talk given at a conference Indicators of wealth inequality: A comparative perspective on households with a migration background in Switzerland and Germany 10.07.2019 Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain Suter Christian;
ECINEQ Talk given at a conference Wealth and Savings of Migrants and Natives in Germany. 03.07.2019 Paris, France Grabka Markus;
XIII Spanish Congress of Sociology and mid-term Conference of the ISA Research Committee on Social Indicators Talk given at a conference Cross-national comparison of determinants of subjective well-being: Australia and Switzerland, 2001-2016 03.07.2019 Valencia, Spain Suter Christian;
Schweizerische Geschichtstage Talk given at a conference Einkommen, Vermögen Und Erbschaften 07.06.2019 Zurich, Switzerland Kuhn Ursina;
ECSR Poster Early Retirement: For the rich or the poor? 06.12.2018 Luxembourg, Luxembourg Kuhn Ursina; Grabka Markus; Suter Christian;
Expert Meeting on Measuring Poverty and Inequality Talk given at a conference Intergenerational material wellbeing: including wealth into the measurement of montary poverty 29.11.2018 Vienna, Austria Ravazzini Laura; Suter Christian;
ECSR Talk given at a conference The four wheels of happiness: the rlationship between car wealth and life satisfcation among the elderly acorss European counties 29.10.2018 Paris, France Suter Christian; Brulé Gaël; Ravazzini Laura;
Social Monitoring and Reporting in Europe Talk given at a conference Intergenerational material wellbeing: including wealth into the measurement of monetary poverty 15.10.2018 Villa Vigoni, Italy Ravazzini Laura; Suter Christian;
ISQOLS Talk given at a conference Car wealth & SWB 14.06.2018 Hong Kong, Hongkong Brulé Gaël; Suter Christian;
Social Monitoring and Reporting in Europe” Talk given at a conference Resilience of elderly throughout negative life events 23.10.2017 Villa Vigoni, Italy Brulé Gaël;
Inequality Reloaded Talk given at a conference Why Do Migrants Accumulate Less Wealth than Natives ? A Decomposition Analysis for Germany. 29.09.2017 Tübingen, Germany Grabka Markus;
ISQOLS Talk given at a conference Wealth(s) and happiness across nations 27.09.2017 Innsbruck, Austria Brulé Gaël; Suter Christian; Ravazzini Laura;
Expert Meeting on Measuring Poverty and Inequality Talk given at a conference The influence of wealth on poverty and inequality in Switzerland 26.09.2017 Budve, Montenegro Suter Christian; Ravazzini Laura; Brulé Gaël;
ESRA Talk given at a conference The role of pension entitlements on wealth 17.07.2017 Lisbon, Portugal Suter Christian; Kuhn Ursina; Ravazzini Laura;
Swiss Household Panel Talk given at a conference Housing wealth in survey data 06.06.2017 Lausanne, Switzerland Brulé Gaël; Kuhn Ursina; Ravazzini Laura;
Swiss Household Panel Talk given at a conference Comparion of buffering effects on happiness after negative life events 06.06.2017 Lausanne, Switzerland Kuhn Ursina; Brulé Gaël;
European Happiness days Talk given at a conference Comparison of buffering effects on happiness throughout life events 21.03.2017 Rotterdam, Netherlands Kuhn Ursina; Brulé Gaël;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
HOW DOES WEALTH INEQUALITY INTERFERE INTO THE WORK SPHERE? 10.09.2019 Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Panorama Gesellschaft Schweiz Talk 08.04.2019 Neuchâtel, Switzerland Suter Christian; Ravazzini Laura;
Avenir Suisse Think Tank Summit Talk 21.01.2019 Zurich, Switzerland Kuhn Ursina;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Gleiche Einkommen, ungleiche Vermögen German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Increasing numbers of older individuals in Germany burdened by housing costs International 2019
Talks/events/exhibitions New findings about wealth inequality in Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Report warns of rising wealth inequality in Switzerland Swiss Info Italian-speaking Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland International 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Schnipp, schnapp German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Talks/events/exhibitions SDG 10 Réduire les inégalités Western Switzerland 2019
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Sur la possibilité de mesurer et de comparer le bien-être German-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Ungleichheit in Deutschland: 10 Prozent haben mehr als die hälfte International 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Wie die AHV die soziale Ungleichheit mindert Republik German-speaking Switzerland 2019
Media relations: print media, online media Pensionsansprüche: Vermögensungleichheit auf dem Prüfstand German-speaking Switzerland 2018
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) Ungleichheit in der Schweiz: widersprüchliche Entwicklungstendenzen. German-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland 2018
Media relations: radio, television L'argent fait-il forcément le bonheur? International 2017
Media relations: print media, online media Wie reich sind die reichen? International 2017

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
143320 Income and wealth inequality, deprivation and wellbeing in Switzerland, 1990-2013 01.04.2013 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

The issue of wealth distribution has received increasing attention over the past years, both within social sciences research and the broader public. Besides the issue of wealth inequality, wealth is a key resource in modern societies and a central dimension of economic and subjective well-being (SWB). There is however a stricking lack of research based on survey and micro data, particularly in Switzerland, where research on wealth relied so far almost uniquely on tax records. The new availability of survey data in Switzerland including wealth information (notably CH-SILC, Swiss Household Panel (SHP), CH-SHARE) provides the opportunity for an in-depth analysis and for assessing the quality and the limits of the different survey data. The central aims of this D-A-CH project are (1) to assess the quality of survey data on wealth, (2) to document the relevance of pension entitlements, (3) to study the impact of migration and life events on wealth and wealth mobility, and (4) to analyse the impact of wealth on SWB. Adopting a comparative approach, we focus on Germany and Switzerland. More precisely, the proposed project consists of four research axes: Axis 1 deals with the quality of wealth data comparing different surveys in Switzerland. The remaining axes compare Germany and Switzerland. Axis 2 assesses the impact of pension entitlements on the wealth distribution, the third axis investigates the role of life-events and migration on distribution of wealth and on wealth mobility, whereas the axis 4 examines the impact of different wealth components on the dimensions of SWB. Comparative analyses will mostly rely on data from the German Socio-Economic Panel study (SOEP), SHP and CH-SILC. The German team will take the lead for Axis 2, the Swiss team for Axes 1 and 4, while Axis 3 will be carried out in close cooperation (lead depending on the subpart). The estimation of pension entitlements in Switzerland will rely on record linkage and simulation for Switzerland, and on information collected from respondents by the SOEP in Germany. For data analysis we will rely on different quantitative methods, most importantly descriptive statistics, regression (linear, non-linear, quantile) and inequality decomposition.The research of the proposed D-A-CH project is original in four respects: First, this project proposes a novel comparative perspective for wealh issues. Germany and Switzerland have many similarities (low share of house owners, economic evolution) which facilitates studying the impact of key differences (migration, tax scheme). Second, this project compares different Swiss surveys on wealth evaluating their validity, reliability and consistency. Third, the project will provide empirical evidence to what extent the highely unequal wealth distribution in Switzerland and Germany can be attributed to the ignorance of pension entitlements in previous research. Fourth, the chance to have longitudinal panel data in both countries offers interesting opportunities, in particular to study wealth mobility, the effect of life events and a better treatment of causaility and endogeneity.This D-A-CH-project brings synergies by combining competences and knowledge of the two teams. Summing up, it will contribute to a more precise measurement of wealth in rich countries and to a better understanding of the distribution and dynamics of wealth.
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