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Reexamining the Distribution of Wealth in 1870

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  • Joshua L. Rosenbloom
  • Gregory W. Stutes

Abstract

This paper uses data on real and personal property ownership collected in the 1870 Federal Census to explore factors influencing individual wealth accumulation and the aggregate distribution of wealth in the United States near the middle of the nineteenth century. Previous analyses of these data have relied on relatively small samples, or focused on population subgroups. By using the much larger sample available in the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) we are able to disaggregate the data much more finely than has previously been possible allowing us to explore differences in inequality across space and between different population groups. The data provide strong support for the hypothesis that American industrialization during the nineteenth century resulted in increasing inequality in the distribution of wealth.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11482.

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Date of creation: Jul 2005
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Publication status: published as Rosenbloom, Joshua (ed.) Quantitative Economic History (Routledge Explorations in Economic History). Routledge, 2008.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11482

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  1. Steckel, Richard H. & Moehling, Carolyn M., 2001. "Rising Inequality: Trends In The Distribution Of Wealth In Industrializing New England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(01), pages 160-183, March.
  2. Richard H. Steckel, 1989. "Poverty and Prosperity: A Longitudinal Study of Wealth Accumulation, 1850-1860," NBER Historical Working Papers 0008, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Atack, Jeremy & Bateman, Fred, 1981. "Egalitarianism, Inequality, and Age: The Rural North in 1860," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(01), pages 85-93, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Ohlsson, Henry & Roine, Jesper & Waldenstrom, Daniel, 2006. "Long-Run Changes in the Concentration of Wealth: An Overview of Recent Findings," Working Paper Series RP2006/103, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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