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The Long Reach of Class Origin on Financial Investments and Net Worth

Aufsätze referiert extern - Web of Science

Philipp M. Lersch, Olaf Groh-Samberg

In: Acta Sociologica im Ersch. (2022), [online first: 2022-11-11]


In this study, we argue that parents' class position may influence the type and timing of their offspring's investments in financial assets. These investments may facilitate net worth accumulation beyond direct transfers, contributing to the intergenerational reproduction of social positions. We test these expectations using retrospective life history and prospective panel data for 14 countries from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe. We apply discrete-time event history analyses to examine the first financial investments' timing over the life course and conduct a mediation analysis of net worth. We find that individuals from advantaged parental classes are more likely to invest in stocks and mutual funds. When considering horizontal differentiation, managerial classes with relatively more economic capital than cultural capital are more likely to invest in financial assets. However, we do not find robust evidence for distinct timings of financial investments by parental class. Advantaged parental class is positively associated with net worth in later life. However, this association cannot be explained by the specific investments of individuals from advantaged parental classes.

Philipp Lersch

Senior Research Fellow in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department

Keywords: Assets, life course, social mobility, class, wealth