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Women, Wealth, and Mobility

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  • Lena Edlund
  • Wojciech Kopczuk

Abstract

Using estate tax returns data, we observe that the share of women among the very wealthy in the United States peaked in the late 1960s at nearly one-half and then declined to one-third. We argue that this pattern reflects changes in the importance of dynastic wealth, with the share of women proxying for inherited wealth. If so, wealth mobility decreased until the 1970s and rose thereafter. Such an interpretation is consistent with technological change driving longterm trends in mobility and inequality, as well as the recent divergence between top wealth and top income shares documented elsewhere. (JEL D31, J16, J62, O33)

Suggested Citation

  • Lena Edlund & Wojciech Kopczuk, 2009. "Women, Wealth, and Mobility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 146-178, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:99:y:2009:i:1:p:146-78
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.99.1.146
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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