No. 646 - Mind the wealth gap: a new allocation method to match micro and macro statistics on household wealth

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by Michele Cantarella, Maria Giovanna Ranalli and Andrea NeriOctober 2021

The paper proposes a methodology for producing statistics on the distribution of wealth drawing on data from the European harmonized survey on household finances (Household Finance and Consumption Survey), after making the data consistent with the aggregate national accounts totals. The methodology addresses both the problem of non-participation of the wealthiest households and the problem of respondents' reluctance to correctly report their wealth.

The methodology produces an archive of "adjusted" microdata that provides information that is coherent with that drawn from the national accounts and that can be used to compute several distributional indicators. In line with expectations, sample surveys tend to underestimate the concentration of wealth in all countries. A further contribution of the paper is the development of a method to estimate the uncertainty of the results.