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How Did the Wealthiest Australians Get So Rich?


  • Siegfried, John J
  • Round, David K


Two hundred sixty-three of the largest Australian fortunes are classified by date and industry of origination. More began in property development, sheep ranching and clothing manufacturing than in other industries. First generation immigrants own more than twice the number of fortunes as would be expected on the basis of their proportion of the population. A panel of experts judged that three-quarters of the fortunes originated in competitive industries. One explanation for large fortunes accumulating in competitive industries is extraordinary returns to disequilibrium (innovation and product differentiation). Other explanations include the assumption of risk and the return to scarce entrepreneurial and managerial skills. Progress in communication and transport technology have made it possible to leverage modest Ricardian rents into large profits via chain operations. Copyright 1994 by The International Association for Research in Income and Wealth.

Suggested Citation

  • Siegfried, John J & Round, David K, 1994. "How Did the Wealthiest Australians Get So Rich?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 40(2), pages 191-204, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:40:y:1994:i:2:p:191-204

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
    2. Galor, Oded & Tsiddon, Daniel, 1997. "The Distribution of Human Capital and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 93-124, March.
    3. Roland Benabou, 1994. "Education, Income Distribution and Growth: The Local Connection," NBER Working Papers 4798, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Winegarden, C R, 1979. "Schooling and Income Distribution: Evidence from International Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 46(181), pages 83-87, February.
    5. Li, Hongyi & Squire, Lyn & Zou, Heng-fu, 1998. "Explaining International and Intertemporal Variations in Income Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 26-43, January.
    6. Barry R. Chiswick, 1971. "Earnings Inequality and Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(1), pages 21-39.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aloys Prinz, 2016. "Do capitalistic institutions breed billionaires?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 51(4), pages 1319-1332, December.
    2. Benno Torgler & Marco Piatti, 2013. "Extraordinary Wealth, Globalization, And Corruption," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 59(2), pages 341-359, June.
    3. Beck Hanno & Prinz Aloys, 2014. "Willkommen in Schumpeters Hotel: Zur Dynamik der Vermögensverteilung / Welcome to Schumpeter's hotel – On the dynamics of the distribution of wealth," ORDO. Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, De Gruyter, vol. 65(1), pages 263-278, January.
    4. Eric Neumayer, 2004. "The super-rich in global perspective: a quantitative analysis of the Forbes list of billionaires," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(13), pages 793-796.
    5. Jason Potts, 2006. "How Creative are the Super-Rich?," Agenda - A Journal of Policy Analysis and Reform, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics, vol. 13(4), pages 339-350.
    6. Tim Hazledine, 1998. "Rationalism Rebuffed? Lessons from Modern Canadian and New Zealand Competition Policy," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 13(1), pages 243-264, April.
    7. Marcelo Medeiros, 2006. "Poverty, inequality and redistribution: A methodology to define the rich," Working Papers 18, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.

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