|Title||Household Economies in the Context of Financialization and Population Aging|
|Year of Publication||2018|
|Number of Pages||219|
|Keywords||Aging, Economy, Household Economies|
This three-study dissertation examines how financialization of the U.S. economy and population aging have reshaped the economic lives of American households and the implications for their well-being and inequality at large, with the focus on both between- and within-household differences. First, I draw on data from the Survey of Consumer Finances to examine varieties of household engagement with finance and its association with wealth in the 1980s, when financialization of the U.S. economy just started, and the late 2000s, when it was at a peak. Latent class analysis shows that in both periods, a wide range of financial practices and attitudes cohere to form distinctive configurations of investing, borrowing, and money management. Furthermore, the structure of household engagement with finance became more differentiated in the course of financialization, and the distribution of various forms of engagement with finance changed as well. Finally, engagement with finance exhibits independent associations with household wealth accumulation and wealth mobility in both periods, even after controlling for a wide range of sociodemographic attributes. Second, I propose and test a novel explanation for individual variation in financial risk-taking that operates at the organizational level. Specifically, I identify company compensation structures as an important predictor of employees’ financial risk-taking. Drawing on data from a survey of employees in fourteen American companies, I show that employees’ financial risk-taking indeed varies by company compensation structures, even after controlling for standard explanations, and the direction of association differs for different compensation plans and by attitudinal vs. behavioral risk-taking. Third, I shift the focus from economic inequality between families to gender inequality within families. Specifically, I focus on the gender division of elder care among adult children as an increasingly important component of unpaid family labor in the context of the aging of the U.S. population. Using the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative survey of elderly Americans, I show that caregiving to elderly parents varies not only by an adult child’s own gender, but also by the gender of the siblings with whom caregiving is shared and by the gender of the parent to whom care is provided.