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Erbschaften und ihr Einfluss auf die Vermögensverteilung

Listed author(s):
  • Martin Kohli
  • Harald Künemund
  • Andrea Schäfer
  • Jürgen Schupp
  • Claudia Vogel

In this paper, we present an analysis of the influence of inheritances on the distribution of wealth alongside selected recent findings on current trends in inheritances and gifts. The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) is used from a longitudinal perspective to study the extent to which the wealth transferred through inheritances accrues to households that already had some capital stock, and whether this wealth creates the starting point for households without any previous assets to begin building up their capital assets. The paper shows, based on the usual method of relative inequality measures used in the research on poverty and wealth, that inheritances do not increase inequalities in the distribution of wealth. Rather, they enable households that would otherwise possess no capital stock to begin accumulating (even modest amounts of) assets. The increase in wealth through inheritances among the group of households that had previously possessed capital assets is relatively less important by contrast, and thus does not lead to greater inequality in the overall distribution of wealth. Der Beitrag stellt ausgewählte aktuelle Befunde zum Erbschafts- und Schenkungsgeschehen dar und analysiert den Einfluss von Erbschaften auf das Vermögen. Aus der Längsschnittperspektive auf Basis des Sozio-oekonomischen Panels (SOEP) wird geklärt, wie weit die Vermögensübertragungen durch Erbschaften in Haushalten anfallen, die schon vorher ein beträchtliches Vermögen aufgebaut haben, und wie weit diese Erbschaften den Ausgangspunkt für die Vermögensbildung darstellen. Der Beitrag zeigt, dass eine Zunahme der Ungleichheit der Vermögensverteilung aufgrund des Erbschaftsgeschehens mit der in der Armuts- und Reichtumsforschung üblichen Methode relativer Ungleichheitsmaße nicht nachgewiesen werden kann. Die Ergebnisse weisen stattdessen darauf hin, dass Erbschaften auf die bestehende Vermögensverteilung tendenziell nivellierend wirken, weil Haushalte, die ohne Erbschaften über keinerlei Vermögen verfügen würden, erst dadurch überhaupt in die Lage versetzt werden, ein (wenn auch vielleicht geringes) Vermögen aufzubauen. Der Vermögenszuwachs durch Erbschaften bei der Gruppe der ohnehin bereits vermögenden Haushalte ist hingegen von relativ geringem Gewicht und führt daher auch nicht zu einer höheren Konzentration des Gesamtvermögens.

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Article provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its journal Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung.

Volume (Year): 75 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 58-76

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Handle: RePEc:diw:diwvjh:75-1-5
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  1. Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2002. "Maintenance of and Innovation in Long-Term Panel Studies: The Case of the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP)," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 276, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
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