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Press release 21.8.2006

International comparisons of wealth

Preliminary international results from the Luxembourg Wealth Study will be presented on 21 August in the IARIW Conference arranged in Joensuu. The objective of the study has been to harmonise measurement of wealth in different countries and improve international comparability. This has become possible thanks to the new study database.

The study results indicate that in almost all the countries studied 80 per cent of households had some financial assets at their disposal. In practice these were often savings accounts. Over 60 per cent of households are living in an owner-occupied flat, except for Germany and Sweden. Ownership of a second home is most common in Finland and Norway.

The 29th General Conference of the International Association for Research IARIW arranged in Joensuu from 20 to 26 August will be attended by nearly 300 experts in the field from around 40 countries. The venue of the Conference is the University of Joensuu and Statistics Finland is responsible for the practical arrangements of the Conference.

Quality of labour force boosts productivity

Labour quality, or employees' skills and level of education, has risen in the euro area by around 0.6 year-on-year from 1983 to 2004. Growth of quality is estimated to have raised labour productivity by one third. The results thus indicate that economic policy measures should be geared to increase education and on-the-job training in those fields where work is available. On the other hand, growth of capital and investments has been regarded as more important for GDP growth than labour force. Productivity and its measurement will be discussed in the Conference on 22 August.

Honoured Guest Speaker, one of the most esteemed economists in the United Kingdom, Sir Anthony Atkinson (Warden, Nuffield College, Oxford University) will hold a speech on development of earnings distribution on 22 August.

Other topics to be discussed in the Conference will be well-being of aged people, child poverty, measurement of public sector output and the division of poverty and well-being in the world. The Conference programme can be found on the IARIW website at Information about practical arrangements is available on the Conference website at:

Basic information about IARIW

IARIW was founded in September 1947, in conjunction with a meeting of the International Statistical Institute. Its major interests are furthering of research on national and social accounting, including development of concepts and definitions for the measurement and analysis of income and wealth, and development and further integration of systems of economic and social statistics. In particular, the Association is concerned with the international aspects of these questions, such as international comparisons of income and wealth and the experiences of different countries in the development of economic and social accounting. IARIW functions as a discussion forum for academic and government scholars in the field of economic and social statistics from many countries.

IARIW has over 30 institutional members, in particular statistical organisations and universities, and approximately 400 individual members. The responsibility for the Association's activities rests with a Council comprised of 14 members. IARIW publishes a quarterly journal, Review of Income and Wealth.

Conference programme: Ms Eeva Hamunen +358 9 1734 3385
Registrations and practical arrangements: Ms Raija Löfgren +358 9 1734 2265 or

Further information about the topics (in English):
Results from the Luxembourg Wealth Study in pdf format
Survey on labour quality in pdf format
Survey on productivity growth in pdf format