Research Professor, Dr. Horioka, and Research Associate Professor, Dr. Niimi, gave presentations at the 27th Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) Annual Conference held in London, United Kingdom.
Date: July 2-4, 2015
Venue: London School of Economics and Political Science
Organizer: Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE)
“The Impact of Intergenerational Transfers on the Distribution of Wealth: An International Comparison”
Charles Yuji Horioka, Research Professor
Abstract: In this paper, we analyze detailed data on intergenerational transfers in 4 countries (China, India, Japan, and the United States) from the “Preference Parameters Study of Osaka University,” which was conducted in these 4 countries during all or part of the 2003-2013 period, in order to shed light on the impact of intergenerational transfers on household wealth disparities. Almost all of the evidence we present suggests that intergenerational transfers have a disequalizing impact on household wealth disparities and facilitate the transmission of household wealth disparities from generation to generation in all 4 countries although the magnitude of these effects varies considerably from country to country. Moreover, the evidence we present sheds light on possible reasons for the substantial differences in household wealth disparities among the 4 countries.
“Can Happiness Provide New Insights into Social Inequality? Evidence from Japan”
Yoko Niimi, Research Associate Professor
Abstract: This paper examines recent trends and determinants of happiness inequality in Japan using unique data from the “Preference Parameters Study of Osaka University” that was conducted annually in Japan during the 2003-2013 period. The data illustrate that, despite some fluctuations, Japan observed a fall in happiness inequality along with income growth during this period. By estimating Recentered Influence Function regressions, we find a negative and significant relationship between income level and happiness inequality, as found for other countries. The results also show that people’s perception of their relative standing in the income spectrum matters for the level as well as the dispersion of happiness. Other key determinants of happiness inequality include the insecurity of jobs, unemployment, the fear of becoming unemployed in the near future, having health concerns, feeling a sense of loneliness, and the expected coverage of living costs by public pensions after retirement, all of which have a positive effect on happiness inequality except that the public pension variable negatively affects the dispersion of happiness. Our empirical analysis illustrates that happiness inequality is a useful addition to the set of conventional inequality indicators to monitor and better understand social inequality and to formulate measures to tackle inequality-related issues.