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On the Share of Inheritance in Aggregate Wealth: Europe and the USA, 1900–2010

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  • Facundo Alvaredo
  • Bertrand Garbinti
  • Thomas Piketty

Abstract

This paper provides historical series on the evolution of the share of inherited wealth in aggregate private wealth in Europe (France, the UK, Germany, Sweden) and the USA over the 1900–2010 period. Until 1910, the inheritance share was very high in Europe (70–80%). It then fell abruptly following the 1914–45 shocks, down to about 30–40% during the 1950–80 period, and is back to 50–60% (and rising) since around 2010. The US pattern also appears to be U-shaped, albeit less marked, and with significant uncertainty regarding recent trends, due to data limitations. We discuss possible interpretations for these long-run patterns.
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Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:84:y:2017:i:334:p:239-260
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/ecca.12233
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Alvaredo, Facundo & Atkinson, Anthony B. & Morelli, Salvatore, 2018. "Top wealth shares in the UK over more than a century," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 26-47.
    2. Philipp Ager & Leah Platt Boustan & Katherine Eriksson, 2019. "The Intergenerational Effects of a Large Wealth Shock: White Southerners After the Civil War," NBER Working Papers 25700, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Barbara Castillo Rico, 2020. "Trends in intergenerational homeownership mobility in France between 1960-2015," AMSE Working Papers 2008, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, France.
    4. Frémeaux, Nicolas & Leturcq, Marion, 2020. "Inequalities and the individualization of wealth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 184(C).
    5. Paolo Acciari & Salvatore Morelli, 2020. "Wealth Transfers and Net Wealth at Death: Evidence from the Italian Inheritance Tax Records 1995–2016," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring and Understanding the Distribution and Intra/Inter-Generational Mobility of Income and Wealth, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Robin Boadway & Pierre Pestieau, 2018. "The tenuous case for an annual wealth tax," Working Papers 2018/01, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    7. Garbinti, Bertrand & Goupille-Lebret, Jonathan & Piketty, Thomas, 2018. "Income inequality in France, 1900–2014: Evidence from Distributional National Accounts (DINA)," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 63-77.
    8. Korom, Philipp, 2016. "Inherited advantage: The importance of inheritance for private wealth accumulation in Europe," MPIfG Discussion Paper 16/11, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    9. BertrandGarbinti & JonathanGoupille-Lebret, 2018. "The Impact of Inheritance and Transfer Taxation on Economic Behaviours and Inequality: A Literature Review for France," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 16(02), pages 13-18, August.
    10. Marius Brülhart & Didier Dupertuis & Elodie Moreau, 2018. "Inheritance flows in Switzerland, 1911–2011," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics, Springer;Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics, vol. 154(1), pages 1-13, December.
    11. Keiya Minamimura & Daisihin Yasui, 2019. "From Physical to Human Capital Accumulation: Effects of Mortality Changes," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 34, pages 103-120, October.
    12. Bertrand GARBINTI & Frédérique SAVIGNAC, 2020. "Accounting for Intergenerational Wealth Mobility in France over the 20th Century: Method and Estimations," Working Papers 2020-16, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    13. KapSoon Kim & SungMan Yoon, 2017. "Taxpayer’s Perception to Tax Payment in Kind System in Support of SMEs’ Sustainability: Case of the South Korean Government’s Valuation of Unlisted Stocks," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(9), pages 1-12, August.
    14. Bertrand Garbinti & Jonathan Goupille-Lebret & Thomas Piketty, 2017. "Income Inequality in France, 1900-2014: Evidence from Distributional National Accounts," Working Papers 201704, World Inequality Lab.
    15. Stefan Humer & Mathias Moser & Matthias Schnetzer, 2017. "Inheritances and the Accumulation of Wealth in the Eurozone," ICAE Working Papers 73, Johannes Kepler University, Institute for Comprehensive Analysis of the Economy.
    16. Salvatore Morelli, 2020. "The Dynamics of Wealth Concentration: Thoughts on Tony Atkinson’s Contributions," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 6(1), pages 197-205, March.
    17. Yonatan Berman & Salvatore Morelli, 2020. "On the Distribution of Estates and the Distribution of Wealth: Evidence from the Dead," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring and Understanding the Distribution and Intra/Inter-Generational Mobility of Income and Wealth, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Alvaredo, Facundo & Atkinson, Anthony B. & Morelli, Salvatore, 2018. "Top wealth shares in the UK over more than a century," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 26-47.
    19. Bertrand Garbinti & Frédérique Savignac, 2020. "Intergenerational Wealth Mobility in France over the 20th Century," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring and Understanding the Distribution and Intra/Inter-Generational Mobility of Income and Wealth, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. repec:ces:ifodic:v:16:y:2018:i:2:p:50000000002755 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Owen Zidar, 2020. "Comment on "Sources of U.S. Wealth Inequality: Past, Present, and Future"," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2020, volume 35, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. European Commission, 2018. "Tax Policies in the European Union: 2018 Survey," Taxation Survey 2018, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.

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