Anna J. Schwartz RoomRoom 5.2.010Mohrenstraße 5810117 Berlin
Johannes König, Carsten Schröder
Top-wealth holders are typically underrepresented or completely missing in population surveys. The lack of comprehensive national registers on high-wealth individuals in many countries challenged previous attempts to remedy this under-representation. In a novel research design, we draw on public data on the shareholding structures of companies as a sampling frame. Our design builds on the empirical regularity that high-wealth individuals are likely to hold at least part of their assets in the form of shareholdings. Based on data from over 270 million companies worldwide, we select all individuals who are both German residents and registered shareholders of companies. For our sample of the top-wealth holders, we interviewed 1595 individuals from a gross sample of 30,000 anchor persons. We find that both the socio-demographic make-up and the asset composition of top-wealth holders is quite different from the existing SOEP population. Top-wealth holders are more often male, older, married and hold their wealth in business assets or real estate.