Poverty and Prosperity: A Longitudinal Study of Wealth Accumulation, 1850-1860
This paper depicts and analyzes the wealth distribution and wealth mobility in a national sample of nearly 1,600 households matched in the 1850 and 1860 manuscript schedules of the census. Gini coefficients, a transition matrix, the Shorrocks measure, and a regression model of wealth accumulation are estimated from these data. The findings shed light on theories of the wealth distribution, life-cycle behavior, regional economic performance, accumulation patterns of ethnic and occupational groups, and the empirical basis for critiques of capitalism. Comparisons with modern data show that mid-nineteenth-century households were less mobile at the lower end of the wealth distribution, but more mobile at the upper end. Copyright 1990 by MIT Press.
Volume (Year): 72 (1990)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
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