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Wealth Creators or Inheritors? Unpacking the Gender Wealth Gap From Bottom to Top and Young to Old

Diskussionspapiere extern

Charlotte Bartels, Eva Sierminska, Carsten Schroeder

Rochester : SSRN, 2023, 29 S.


This paper investigates the gender wealth gap using wealth recorded in the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). Ranking women and men by their individual wealth reveals that the average gender wealth gap is driven by the large gap in the top tail. We find that the gender wealth gap widens during working age and closes during retirement. This is associated with men receiving higher inheritances and inter-vivos gifts during working life, while women inherit large sums later in life, when they are more likely to be widowed. As a result, men appear more likely to create wealth and women to inherit wealth.

Charlotte Bartels

Research Associate in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department

Carsten Schröder

Board of Directors SOEP and Division Head Applied Panel Analysis in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department

JEL-Classification: D31;D63;J16
Keywords: Wealth Accumulation, Wealth Inequality, Gender Wealth Gap, Inheritances, Economics of Gender