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An Examination of Changes in the Distribution of Wealth From 1989 to 1998: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances

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  • Arthur B. Kennickell

    (Federal Reserve Board)

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    Abstract

    This paper considers the distribution of wealth in the period from 1989 to 1998 as an indicator of the economic condition of households. It examines changes in the distribution of wealth over that period, mostly using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). Some of the SCF data used here have previously been studied by Weicher (1996), Wolff (1996), and Kennickell and Woodburn (1992 and 1999). As background, the paper also uses some estimates published by Forbes magazine on the 400 wealthiest people in the United States. The first section of the paper briefly discusses the data. The next section uses the Forbes data to characterize changes at the very top of the wealth distribution. The third section presents a variety of estimates of wealth changes for the population below the AForbes 400" level using SCF data. The fourth section examines the sensitivity of the SCF estimates to a variety of assumptions about systematic mismeasurement in the data. The final section summarizes the findings of the paper.

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    File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/mac/papers/0004/0004054.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Macroeconomics with number 0004054.

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    Length: 45 pages
    Date of creation: 26 Oct 2000
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpma:0004054

    Note: Type of Document - Adobe Acrobat PDF; prepared on IBM PC; to print on PostScript; pages: 45; figures: included
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    Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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    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.:
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    1. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio, 2000. "Household Portfolios in Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 2549, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Rochelle L. Antoniewicz, 1996. "A comparison of the household sector from the Flow of Funds Accounts and the Survey of Consumer Finances," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 96-26, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Arthur B. Kennickell & Martha Starr-McCluer & Brian J. Surette, 2000. "Recent changes in U. S. family finances: results from the 1998 Survey of Consumer Finances," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-29.
    4. Wolff, Edward N, 1996. "International Comparisons of Wealth Inequality," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 42(4), pages 433-51, December.
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