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Trends in the Shares of Top Wealth-Holders in Britain, 1923-1981


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  • Atkinson, Anthony B
  • Gordon, James P F
  • Harrison, Alan


This paper reexamines earlier work by Atkinson and Harrison (1978, 1979), which presented a consistent series of estate-based estimates of the distribution of wealth in Englnd and Wales for the years 1923 to 1972, and conducted an econometric analysis of the trends over time in the distribution. Such a reexamination is timely for several reasons. First, estate data allowing a considerable extension of our series are now available. Second, we can conduct a test of the forecasting ability of our original econometric specification. Third, there are grounds for modifying this specification, although, as it turns out, the revised formulation performs only marginally better than the original. Finally, the newly estimated equation can be used to examine the likely impact on the distribution of wealth of recent sharp fluctuation in stock and house prices, both of which play a central role in determining changes in the share of total wealth owned by top wealth-holders. Copyright 1989 by Blackwell Publishing Ltd

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Oxford in its journal Oxford Bulletin of Economics & Statistics.

Volume (Year): 51 (1989)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 315-32

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Handle: RePEc:bla:obuest:v:51:y:1989:i:3:p:315-32

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Cited by:
  1. A.B. Atkinson, 2013. "Wealth and Inheritance in Britain from 1896 to the Present," CASE Papers, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE /178, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
  2. A B Atkinson & Andrew Leigh, 2010. "The Distribution of Top Incomes in Five Anglo-Saxon Countries over the Twentieth Century," CEPR Discussion Papers, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University 640, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  3. Graziella Bertocchi, 2011. "The Vanishing Bequest Tax: The Comparative Evolution Of Bequest Taxation In Historical Perspective," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(1), pages 107-131, 03.
  4. Waldenström, Daniel & Ohlsson, Henry & Roine, Jesper, 2007. "Long-Run Changes in the Concentration of Wealth: An Overview of Recent Findings," Working Paper Series, Research Institute of Industrial Economics 699, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  5. Atkinson, A.B., 2006. "Concentration among the Rich," Working Paper Series, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER) RP2006/151, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).


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