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The concentration of personal wealth un Italy 1995 - 2016

Author

Listed:
  • Paolo Acciari

    (Ministry of Economy and Finance)

  • Facundo Alvaredo

    (Paris School of Economics)

  • Salvatore Morelli

    (University of Roma Tre-Law Department)

Abstract

Italy is one the countries with the highest wealth-to-income ratio in the developed world. Yet, despite the growing policy interest, knowledge about the size distribution of wealth is currently limited. In this paper we expand our windows of observation on the distribution of personal wealth using a novel source on the full record of inheritance tax files. The data cover up to 63% of the deceased population and are available between 1995 and 2016, a period of substantial economic turbulence and structural reform for the Italian economy. Our benchmark results rely on the distribution of the net wealth observed in the National Accounts balance sheets. Unlike available statistics estimated from household survey data, our results point to a strong rise in wealth concentration and inequality since the mid-1990s. Whereas the level of wealth concentration in Italy is in line with those of other European countries, its time trend appears more in line with the U.S. experience. Moreover, Italy stands out as one of the countries with the strongest decline in the wealth share of the bottom 50% of the adult population. We explore the role of household wealth portfolios, accumulation patterns during the life cycle, and inheritance ows, its concentration, and taxation patterns as main drivers of the trends observed. A range of alternative series of wealth concentration helps us better understand the role of adjustments and imputations and is based on a multi-series approach, i.e., comparing the pieces of information given by different and competing sources.

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo Acciari & Facundo Alvaredo & Salvatore Morelli, 2021. "The concentration of personal wealth un Italy 1995 - 2016," Working Papers wp2021-13, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Department of Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:ahg:wpaper:wp2021-13
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    Cited by:

    1. Yonatan Berman & Salvatore Morelli, 2021. "On the Distribution of Estates and the Distribution of Wealth: Evidence from the Dead," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring Distribution and Mobility of Income and Wealth, pages 205-219, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Paolo Acciari & Salvatore Morelli, 2020. "Wealth Transfers and Net Wealth at Death: Evidence from the Italian Inheritance Tax Records 1995–2016," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring Distribution and Mobility of Income and Wealth, pages 175-203, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Bucciol, Alessandro & Burro, Giovanni, 2022. "Is there a happiness premium for working in the public sector? Evidence from Italy," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 97(C).
    4. Armanda Cetrulo & Angelica Sbardella & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2021. "Vanishing social classes? Facts and figures of the Italian labour market," LEM Papers Series 2021/29, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    5. Francesco Zezza & Gennaro Zezza, 2022. "A Prototype Regional Stock-Flow Consistent Model," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_1005, Levy Economics Institute.
    6. Marcon, Giulio, 2021. "La ricchezza in Italia Rapporto di ricerca [Wealth in Italy. Research Report]," MPRA Paper 107809, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    wealth inequality; wealth distribution; top wealth shares; distributional national accounts; estate concentration; inheritance and gifts; inheritance tax;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy
    • G50 - Financial Economics - - Household Finance - - - General

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