Wealth and Asset Holdings of Immigrants in Germany

DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), SOEPpapers 01/2007;
Source: RePEc

ABSTRACT International migration of people is a momentous and complex phenomenon. Research on its causes and consequences, requires sufficient data. While some datasets are available, the nature of migration complicates their scientific use. Virtually no existing dataset captures international migration trajectories. To alleviate these difficulties, we suggest: (i) the international coordination of data collection methodologies and standardization of immigrant identifiers; (ii) a longitudinal approach to data collection; (iii) the inclusion of adequate information about relevant characteristics of migrants, including retrospective information, in surveys; (iv) minimal anonymization; (v) immigrant boosters in existing surveys; (vi) the use of modern technologies and facilitation of data service centers; and (vii) making data access a priority of data collection.

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    ABSTRACT: Crossing borders, be it international or regional, often go together with price, wage or indeed wealth discontinuities. This paper identifies substantial wealth differences between Luxembourg resident households and cross-border commuter households despite their similar incomes. The av-erage (median) net wealth difference is estimated to be €367,000 (€129,000) and increases for higher percentiles. Using several different regression and decomposition techniques, spatial (regional) dif-ferences in real estate price developments, and thus differences in accumulated nominal capital gains are shown to be one main driving factor for these wealth differences. Other factors contribut-ing to the observed wealth differences are differences in age, income, education and other house-hold characteristics.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper analyzes savings and asset holdings of immigrants in relation to their return plans. We argue that savings and asset accumulation may be affected by return plans of immigrants. Further, the way savings and assets are held in the home and host country may also be related to future return plans. Thus, comparing savings and assets between immigrants and natives may lead to serious underestimation when neglecting the home country component. We show that immigrants with temporary return plans place a higher proportion of their savings in the home country. In addition, both the magnitude and the share of assets and housing value accumulated in the home country are larger for immigrants who consider their migration as temporary, and lower the value of assets and property held in the host country. Finally, and conditional on observable characteristics, we find no evidence that immigrants with temporary migration plans save more than immigrants with permanent migration plans.
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