French households financial wealth: which changes in 20 years?
Focusing on households' financial assets, this work attempts to analyze microeconomic determinants of the global evolutions in French households' portfolio from 1990 to 2010. In particular, we analyze the role of age and provide, from French data, an empirical ground to the large literature dedicated to wealth accumulation. The paper mobilizes successive Household Wealth Survey cross-sections (conducted in 1992, 1998, 2004 and 2010) and develops an age-cohort-period model. The estimation of age-patterns for financial assets building shows no decumulation in retirement, on the contrary to the standard Life-Cycle Hypothesis, and no significant differences between birth cohort groups. This approach is supplemented by exploring the role played by other microeconomic determinants, such as diploma, suggesting the existence of a large diversity of accumulation patterns within each generation. The paper ends with a brief focus on life insurance expansion in French households' portfolio, describing its nature and which savers' groups have supported it.