No. 565 - Financial wealth in the financial accounts and in the Survey of Household Income and Wealth (only in Italian)

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by Riccardo Bonci, Grazia Marchese and Andrea NeriNovember 2005

The Survey on Household Income and Wealth, conducted every two years by the Bank of Italy, and the Italian Financial Accounts, published quarterly, provide information on the wealth of Italian households which are independent and, for the time being, not directly comparable. In this paper we perform a detailed comparison of the estimates of the households’ various financial assets and liabilities coming from the two sources, identifying the causes responsible for the observed discrepancies. In general, the outstanding amounts reported in the Financial Accounts are significally larger than those arising from the Survey. Reconciling the data in terms of classification criteria and of valuation methods reduces the differences only to a small extent. Once the variability due to sampling and measurement errors is taken into account, the discrepancies are mainly caused by under-reporting on the survey results; the bias from non-response is less important. As a by-product of the analysis, suggestions for some methodological improvements to both the Survey and the Financial Accounts do also arise, possibly from the joint use of the two sources.