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Wealth Concentration over the Path of Development: Sweden, 1873-2006

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  • Jesper Roine
  • Daniel Waldenström

Abstract

We study wealth concentration in Sweden over 130 years, from the beginning of industrialization until the present day. Our series are based on new evidence from estate and wealth tax data, foreign and domestic family firm-wealth, and pension wealth estimates. We find that Swedish wealth concentration was high in the agrarian state, and changed little during early industrialization. From World War I until about 1950, the richest percentile lost ground to high-income earners in the rest of the top-wealth decile. This equalization continued postwar; the entire top decile lost-out relative to the rest of the population. Around 1980, wealth compression stopped and inequality increased. We approximate the effects of international flows and find that the recent increase in wealth inequality is probably larger than what official estimates suggest. Copyright © The editors of the "Scandinavian Journal of Economics" 2009 .

Suggested Citation

  • Jesper Roine & Daniel Waldenström, 2009. "Wealth Concentration over the Path of Development: Sweden, 1873-2006," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 111(1), pages 151-187, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:111:y:2009:i:1:p:151-187
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas Piketty & Gilles Postel-Vinay & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 2006. "Wealth Concentration in a Developing Economy: Paris and France, 1807–1994," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 236-256, March.
    2. Arthur B. Kennickell, 2006. "Currents and undercurrents: changes in the distribution of wealth, 1989-2004," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-13, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Wolff, Edward N., 2007. "The retirement wealth of the baby boom generation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-40, January.
    4. Roine, Jesper & Waldenstrom, Daniel, 2008. "The evolution of top incomes in an egalitarian society: Sweden, 1903-2004," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 366-387, February.
    5. Feinstein, Charles, 1996. "The Equalizing of Wealth in Britain since the Second World War," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 96-105, Spring.
    6. Kopczuk, Wojciech & Saez, Emmanuel, 2004. "Top Wealth Shares in the United States, 1916-2000: Evidence From Estate Tax Returns," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 57(2), pages 445-487, June.
    7. N. Anders Klevmarken, 2004. "On The Wealth Dynamics Of Swedish Families, 1984-98," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 50(4), pages 469-491, December.
    8. Anthony Atkinson & Thomas Piketty, 2007. "Top incomes over the twentieth century: A contrast between continental european and english-speaking countries," Post-Print halshs-00754859, HAL.
    9. Atkinson, A. B. & Piketty, Thomas (ed.), 2007. "Top Incomes Over the Twentieth Century: A Contrast Between Continental European and English-Speaking Countries," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286881.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-

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