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Women, Wealth, and Mobility

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  • Lena Edlund
  • Wojciech Kopczuk

Abstract

Using estate tax returns data, we observe that the share of women among the very wealthy in the United States peaked in the late 1960s at nearly one-half and then declined to one-third. We argue that this pattern reflects changes in the importance of dynastic wealth, with the share of women proxying for inherited wealth. If so, wealth mobility decreased until the 1970s and rose thereafter. Such an interpretation is consistent with technological change driving longterm trends in mobility and inequality, as well as the recent divergence between top wealth and top income shares documented elsewhere. (JEL D31, J16, J62, O33)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 99 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 146-78

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:1:p:146-78

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.1.146
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Cited by:
  1. Eva M. Sierminska & Joachim R. Frick & Markus M. Grabka, 2010. "Examining the gender wealth gap," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(4), pages 669-690, October.
  2. Mathias Sommer, 2008. "Understanding the trends in income, consumption and wealth inequality and how important are life-cycle effects?," MEA discussion paper series 08160, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  3. Thomas Piketty, 2011. "On the Long-Run Evolution of Inheritance: France 1820--2050," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1071-1131.
  4. Markus M. Grabka & Jan Marcus & Eva Sierminska, 2013. "Wealth Distribution within Couples and Financial Decision Making," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 540, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  5. Eva M. Sierminska & Joachim R. Frick & Markus M. Grabka, 2008. "Examining the Gender Wealth Gap in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 806, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  6. Björklund, Anders & Roine, Jesper & Waldenström, Daniel, 2010. "Intergenerational top income mobility in Sweden: Capitalist dynasties in the land of equal opportunity?," Working Paper Series 9/2010, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  7. Grabka, Markus M. & Marcus, Jan & Sierminska, Eva, 2013. "Wealth Distribution within Couples," IZA Discussion Papers 7637, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Björklund, Anders & Roine, Jesper & Waldenström, Daniel, 2008. "Intergenerational Top Income Mobility in Sweden: A Combination of Equal Opportunity and Capitalistic Dynasties," IZA Discussion Papers 3801, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Wojciech Kopczuk & Emmanuel Saez & Jae Song, 2007. "Uncovering the American Dream: Inequality and Mobility in Social Security Earnings Data since 1937," NBER Working Papers 13345, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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