Saving and Wealth Accumulation in the PSID, 1984-2005

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This paper reports on a project to construct and evaluate a wealth and saving dataset for those households who responded to the supplementary wealth and active saving modules of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) over the period of 1984 to 2005. The PSID is unique in providing household-level estimates of active saving and net wealth accumulation. The dataset includes measures of wealth, net wealth accumulation, and active saving covering seven wealth surveys and six periods for saving and wealth accumulation. For individual years, the sample sizes vary between 7 and 8 thousand families. The number of families participating in multiple periods is less, but 1,963 have participated in all seven of the wealth surveys. In comparisons with the SCF, we find that the wealth data of the PSID yield very similar results for the bottom 95 percent of the wealth distribution, but the very wealthy are underrepresented in the PSID. The major advantage is that the PSID has multiple observations on a family’s wealth over the two decades of coverage.