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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.

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
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9442.2008.01558.x
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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.
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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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