Inheritances and the Distribution of Wealth Or Whatever Happened to the Great Inheritance Boom?
AbstractWe found that on average over the period from 1989 to 2007, 21 percent of American households at a given point of time received a wealth transfer and these accounted for 23 percent of their net worth. Over the lifetime, about 30 percent of households could expect to receive a wealth transfer and these would account for close to 40 percent of their net worth near time of death. However, there is little evidence of an inheritance “boom.” In fact, from 1989 to 2007, the share of households reporting a wealth transfer fell by 2.5 percentage points. The average value of inheritances received among all households did increase but at a slow pace, by 10 percent, and wealth transfers as a proportion of current net worth fell sharply over this period from 29 to 19 percent or by 10 percentage points. We also found, somewhat surprisingly, that inheritances and other wealth transfers tend to be equalizing in terms of the distribution of household wealth. Indeed, the addition of wealth transfers to other sources of household wealth has had a sizeable effect on reducing the inequality of wealth.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in its series Working Papers with number 445.
Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2011
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: 2 Massachusetts Avenue, N.E. Room 2860, Washington, D. C. 20212
Phone: (202) 606-5900
Fax: (202) 606-7890
Web page: http://www.bls.gov
More information through EDIRC
Inheritance; household wealth; inequality;
Other versions of this item:
- Wolff, Edward N. & Gittleman, Maury, 2011. "Inheritances and the distribution of wealth or whatever happened to the great inheritance boom?," Working Paper Series 1300, European Central Bank.
- Edward N. Wolff & Maury Gittleman, 2011. "Inheritances and the Distribution of Wealth Or Whatever Happened to the Great Inheritance Boom?," BCL working papers 55, Central Bank of Luxembourg.
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
- J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1991.
"Intergenerational Transfers and the Accumulation of Wealth,"
UCLA Economics Working Papers
624, UCLA Department of Economics.
- William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1994. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Accumulation of Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 145-160, Fall.
- W. G. Gale & J. K. Scholz, . "Intergenerational transfers and the accumulation of wealth," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1019-93, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
- Klevmarken, N. Anders, 2001.
"On the Wealth Dynamics of Swedish Families 1984-1998,"
Working Paper Series
2001:17, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
- Klevmarken, N.A., 2001. "On the Wealth Dynamics of Swedish Families 1984-1998," Papers 2001:17, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
- PESTIEAU, Pierre, .
"The role of gift and estate transfers in the United States and in Europe,"
CORE Discussion Papers RP
-1606, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- Pierre Pestieau, 2002. "The Role of Gift and Estate Transfers in the United States and in Europe," CREPP Working Papers 0202, Centre de Recherche en Economie Publique et de la Population (CREPP) (Research Center on Public and Population Economics) HEC-Management School, University of Liège.
- Laitner, John, 1992. "Random earnings differences, lifetime liquidity constraints, and altruistic intergenerational transfers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 135-170, December.
- Jeffrey Brown & Scott Weisbenner, 2004. "Intergenerational Transfers and Savings Behavior," NBER Chapters, in: Perspectives on the Economics of Aging, pages 181-204 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kessler, Denis & Masson, Andre, 1989. "Bequest and Wealth Accumulation: Are Some Pieces of the Puzzle Missing?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 141-52, Summer.
- Edward N. Wolff & Ajit Zacharias & Thomas Masterson, 2012. "Trends In American Living Standards And Inequality, 1959–2007," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 58(2), pages 197-232, 06.
- Menchik, Paul L & David, Martin, 1983. "Income Distribution, Lifetime Savings, and Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 672-90, September.
Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- Inheritances and the Distribution of Wealth Or Whatever Happened to the Great Inheritance Boom?
by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2011-09-08 17:52:04
- Facundo Alvaredo & Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2013.
"The Top 1 Percent in International and Historical Perspective,"
Journal of Economic Perspectives,
American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 3-20, Summer.
- Facundo Alvaredo & Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2013. "The Top 1 Percent in International and Historical Perspective," NBER Working Papers 19075, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Eleni Karagiannaki, 2011. "The magnitude and correlates of inter-vivos transfers in the UK," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 43898, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Thomas Y. Mathä & Alessandro Porpiglia & Eva Sierminska, 2011.
"The Immigrant/Native Wealth Gap in Germany, Italy and Luxembourg,"
BCL working papers
57, Central Bank of Luxembourg.
- Mathä, Thomas Y. & Porpiglia, Alessandro & Sierminska, Eva, 2011. "The immigrant/native wealth gap in Germany, Italy and Luxembourg," Working Paper Series 1302, European Central Bank.
- Jurgen Faik & Uwe Fachinger, 2013. "The decomposition of well-being categories: An application to Germany," Working Papers 307, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gregory Kurtzon).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.