Household Wealth in the Main OECD Countries from 1980 to 2011: what do the data tell us?

This paper analyses household wealth in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, the UK and the US. Building on a new data set for the time span 1980-2011, it is discussed: the trends of household financial assets in the last thirty years, the reasons for the differences across countries, the tendency towards convergence, the economic interpretation of breaks in time series and the effects of the recent financial crisis. Comments on the evolution of household debt and real assets are offered. In discussing the empirical evidence, the paper summarises the recent literature on household wealth.