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The Distribution of Wealth: Measurement and Models

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  • Jenkins, Stephen P

Abstract

Analysts debating the consequences of a policy change for the wealth distribution may come to different conclusions because of different views about how the distribution should be defined and measured, or about the processes determining the distribution. The aim of this survey is to provide an analytical framework within which such conflicts may be addressed. The first part of the paper discusses conceptual issues in the definition of "wealth," and compares methods of deriving estimates of wealth distribution. The second, and larger, part of the paper surveys lifecycle and intergenerational models of the distribution of wealth, including a discussion of the role played by inheritance. The presentation is largely theoretical. Indeed, one of the paper's conclusions is that empirical modeling or the wealth distribution is under-developed, at least for the purposes of addressing many topical policy issues. Copyright 1990 by Blackwell Publishers Ltd

Suggested Citation

  • Jenkins, Stephen P, 1990. " The Distribution of Wealth: Measurement and Models," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(4), pages 329-360.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jecsur:v:4:y:1990:i:4:p:329-60
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    Cited by:

    1. Frank A Cowell & Eleni Karagiannaki & Abigail McKnight, 2012. "Mapping and measuring the distribution of household wealth: A cross-country analysis," CASE Papers case165, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    2. repec:cep:sticas:/165 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Olympia Bover, 2010. "Wealth Inequality And Household Structure: U.S. Vs. Spain," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 56(2), pages 259-290, June.
    4. Fessler, Pirmin & Schürz, Martin, 2015. "Private wealth across European countries: the role of income, inheritance and the welfare state," Working Paper Series 1847, European Central Bank.
    5. Frank Cowell & Karagiannaki, E. (Eleni) & Abigail Mcknight, 2012. "GINI DP 71: Mapping and Measuring the Distribution of Household Wealth: A Cross-Country Analysis," GINI Discussion Papers 71, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    6. Atkinson, A.B., 2006. "Concentration among the Rich," WIDER Working Paper Series 151, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    7. Skopek, Nora & Buchholz, Sandra & Blossfeld, Hans-Peter, 2011. "Wealth inequality in Europe and the delusive egalitarianism of Scandinavian countries," MPRA Paper 35307, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Frank A. Cowell & Philippe Kerm, 2015. "Wealth Inequality: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 671-710, September.
    9. Ihle, Dorothee & Siebert-Meyerhoff, Andrea, 2017. "The older, the richer? A decomposition of wealth inequality by age subgroups," CAWM Discussion Papers 97, University of Münster, Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM).

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