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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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    1. Martin Feldstein & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2002. "The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number feld02-1, June.
    2. Wojciech Kopczuk, 2007. "Bequest and Tax Planning: Evidence from Estate Tax Returns," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1801-1854.
    3. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1993. "Estimation and Inference in Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195060119.
    4. Martin S. Feldstein & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2002. "Introduction to "The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform"," NBER Chapters,in: The Distributional Aspects of Social Security and Social Security Reform, pages 1-10 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Björklund, Anders & Roine, Jesper & Waldenström, Daniel, 2012. "Intergenerational top income mobility in Sweden: Capitalist dynasties in the land of equal opportunity?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(5), pages 474-484.
    2. Schneebaum, Alyssa & Rehm, Miriam & Mader, Katharina & Hollan, Katarina, 2016. "The Gender Wealth Gap Across European Countries," Department of Economics Working Paper Series 5175, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    3. Thomas Piketty, 2010. "On the long-run evolution of inheritance: France 1820-2050," PSE Working Papers halshs-00564853, HAL.
    4. GRABKA Markus & MARCUS Jan & SIERMINSKA Eva, 2013. "Wealth distribution within couples and financial decision making," LISER Working Paper Series 2013-02, LISER.
    5. Facundo Alvaredo & Bertrand Garbinti & Thomas Piketty, 2017. "On the Share of Inheritance in Aggregate Wealth: Europe and the USA, 1900–2010," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 84(334), pages 239-260, April.
    6. Wojciech Kopczuk & Emmanuel Saez & Jae Song, 2007. "Uncovering the American Dream: Inequality and Mobility in Social Security Earnings Data since 1937," NBER Working Papers 13345, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Eva M. Sierminska & Joachim R. Frick & Markus M. Grabka, 2010. "Examining the gender wealth gap," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(4), pages 669-690, October.
    8. Fortin, Nicole M. & Bell, Brian & Böhm, Michael, 2017. "Top earnings inequality and the gender pay gap: Canada, Sweden, and the United Kingdom," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 107-123.
    9. Björklund, Anders & Roine, Jesper & Waldenström, Daniel, 2008. "Intergenerational Top Income Mobility in Sweden: A Combination of Equal Opportunity and Capitalistic Dynasties," IZA Discussion Papers 3801, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Thomas Piketty, 2011. "On the Long-Run Evolution of Inheritance: France 1820--2050," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1071-1131.
    11. repec:eee:exehis:v:68:y:2018:i:c:p:132-142 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. A.B. Atkinson & A. Casarico & S. Voitchovsky, 2016. "Top Incomes and the Gender Divide," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2016n27, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    13. Sommer, Mathias, 2008. "Understanding the trends in income, consumption and wealth inequality and how important are life-cycle effects?," Papers 08-12, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    14. Markus Grabka & Jan Marcus & Eva Sierminska, 2015. "Wealth distribution within couples," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 459-486, September.
    15. Eva M. Sierminska & Joachim R. Frick & Markus M. Grabka, 2008. "Examining the Gender Wealth Gap in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 115, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    16. Frank A. Cowell & Philippe Kerm, 2015. "Wealth Inequality: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 671-710, September.
    17. Korom, Philipp & Lutter, Mark & Beckert, Jens, 2015. "The enduring importance of family wealth: Evidence from the Forbes 400, 1982 to 2013," MPIfG Discussion Paper 15/8, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    18. Mathias Sommer, 2008. "Understanding the trends in income, consumption and wealth inequality and how important are life-cycle effects?," MEA discussion paper series 08160, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.

    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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