Économie et Statistique n° 354 - 2002 France's downturn in per capita GDP mainly reflects imperfect international comparisons - Qualifications and employability - Topography of business sectors based on inter-sector employee mobility - Household invertments in Europe
Household investments in Europe: a massive change in the role of financial intermediaries
The adoption of common accounting bases to present European countries' financial statistics opens up a wide range of comparative study possibilities. Huge behavioural disparities, albeit with a certain number of common developments, are found in household savings. From a structural point of view, the initial distribution of financial assets among the different categories of directly held securities and the different financial intermediaries is marked by economic and social choices that govern or have governed the countries studied. Take, for example, the massive holding of government bonds in Italy, the weight of traditional banking interme-diation in Germany, and the extent of investments with insurers and pension funds in the Netherlands and the On the dynamic level, the main development in recent years is the downturn in classic banking intermediation in all the countries studied to the benefit of the other financial intermediaries (unit trusts, insurers and pension funds). The growth in non-bank intermediaries over the 1995-1999 period has played a crucial role in steering capital towards the stock markets and the international diversification of portfolios. Overall, European households' financial assets are generally invested more in shares and foreign assets, which implies an increase in risk for savers. Nevertheless, financing the domestic debt remains the rule in the German-speaking and southern European countries.