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Poverty and Prosperity: A Longitudinal Study of Wealth Accumulation, 1850-1860

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  • Steckel, Richard H

Abstract

This paper depicts and analyzes the wealth distribution and wealth mobility in a national sample of nearly 1,600 households matched in the 1850 and 1860 manuscript schedules of the census. Gini coefficients, a transition matrix, the Shorrocks measure, and a regression model of wealth accumulation are estimated from these data. The findings shed light on theories of the wealth distribution, life-cycle behavior, regional economic performance, accumulation patterns of ethnic and occupational groups, and the empirical basis for critiques of capitalism. Comparisons with modern data show that mid-nineteenth-century households were less mobile at the lower end of the wealth distribution, but more mobile at the upper end. Copyright 1990 by MIT Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Review of Economics & Statistics.

Volume (Year): 72 (1990)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 275-85

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:72:y:1990:i:2:p:275-85

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Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/

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Cited by:
  1. Livio Di Matteo, 2008. "Wealth accumulation motives: evidence from the probate records of Ontario, 1892 and 1902," Cliometrica, Journal of Historical Economics and Econometric History, Association Française de Cliométrie (AFC), vol. 2(2), pages 143-171, July.
  2. Joshua L. Rosenbloom & Gregory W. Stutes, 2005. "Reexamining the Distribution of Wealth in 1870," NBER Working Papers 11482, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Burger, Ronelle & Booysen, Frikkie & Berg, Servaas van der & Maltitz, Michael von, 2006. "Marketable Wealth in a Poor African Country," MPRA Paper 9063, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Di Matteo, Livio, 2013. "Women, wealth and economic change: An assessment of the impact of women's property law in Wentworth County, Ontario, 1872–1927," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 285-307.
  5. Burger, Ronelle & Booysen, Frikkie & van der Berg, Servaas & von Maltitz, Michael, 2006. "Marketable Wealth in a Poor African Country: Using an index of consumer durables to investigate wealth accumulation by households in Ghana," Working Paper Series RP2006/138, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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