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While much of the comparative evidence on inequalities that is currently available refers to household income, wealth is a critical dimension of households’ economic well-being. How wealth is distributed is important for equity and inter-generational mobility, but also for the stability of the economic system and for its resilience to shocks. While the lack of comparative evidence in this field reflects the absence of an agreed standard that statistical offices could use when collecting this information, this gap has been addressed by the OECD with the release in 2013 of a set of statistical guidelines in this field. In 2013, the OECD issued a set of ‘Guidelines’ for micro statistics on household wealth (OECD, 2013) and an increasing number of countries have engaged in the collection of micro statistics in this field (European Central Bank, 2013). Building on these initiatives as well as others, such as the Luxembourg Wealth Study (Sierminska et al, 2006) which have informed previous OECD analysis (Jantii et al., 2008), the OECD has now collected a new set of data on the distribution of household wealth for 18 OECD countries, based on the set of conventions and classifications proposed in the 2013 OECD Guidelines.
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