Wealth Accumulation in the Household. Whose Disadvantages Matter?

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Valentina PONOMARENKO, GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany
In this study wealth is employed as an often neglected but highly relevant well-being measure in sociology. I relate the employment history and especially accumulative disadvantages like non-employment and part-time employment to wealth in old age. In particular, I am interested in the household context and how gendered career patterns determine household wealth accumulation. Previous research showed that joblessness and career instability lowers income on the long-run. This study shows that also wealth accumulation correlates with experience of employment disadvantages. I use comparative data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement and combine it with the retrospective panel SHARELIFE to retrieve information about the complete employment history of couples. The relevance of wealth varies significantly across households and in the wider national context. The results show that cumulative non-employment has significant disadvantages for wealth accumulation in old age. However, large gaps between men's and women's contribution to household wealth persist. Whereas women interrupt their careers more often, their disadvantages hardly matter. On the other hand instabilities of men are associated to lower wealth. Other household factors like receipt of inheritances are decisive in the effectuality of these disadvantages.