Wealth Accumulation Inequality: Does Investment Risk Tolerance and Equity Ownership Drive Wealth Accumulation?

Wookjae Heo, John E. Grable, Barbara O’Neill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


This study examined the savings aspect of wealth accumulation by estimating differences in financial risk tolerance and equity ownership among individual investors. Data were obtained from a proprietary dataset that collected over 15,000 risk-tolerance attitude responses between late 2007 and early 2013. Two research methodologies were utilized: cluster analysis and ANCOVA. The cluster analysis identified four investor profiles: (a) young lower-income women, (b) young unmarried men, (c) young college-educated men, and (d) older men with high income and education. Results from the ANCOVA test indicated that each cluster had significantly different levels of equity ownership, controlling for financial risk tolerance. Results provide a framework and methodology for future research on issues related to wealth inequality, investment behavior, and risk attitudes. The ability to group individuals similarly can be an important tool for researchers, policy makers, social activists, financial advisers, financial counselors, and educators when analyzing the household and macroeconomic wealth profile of United States residents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-225
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)


  • Equity ratio
  • Income inequality
  • Investment
  • Risk tolerance
  • Wealth inequality

Cite this