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Wealth and inequality in Italy


  • Giovanni D'Alessio

    () (Banca d'Italia)


The paper describes first the evolution in total household wealth in Italy over the period 1965-2010 before addressing the analysis of wealth inequality. On the basis of reconstructed data, we show that household wealth inequality declined until the beginning of the 1990s. It then grew significantly during that decade, remaining at approximately the same level afterwards. By international standards, Italy does not have a high level of wealth inequality (contrary to the evidence available for income). Wealth distribution has changed significantly over time, favouring elderly rather than young households. The origins of wealth (savings, gifts, inheritance, capital gains) are also examined and the statistical evidence is discussed together with the opinions on inequality collected by means of statistical surveys.

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni D'Alessio, 2012. "Wealth and inequality in Italy," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 115, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:opques:qef_115_12

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. James B. Davies & Susanna Sandström & Anthony Shorrocks & Edward N. Wolff, 2011. "The Level and Distribution of Global Household Wealth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 121(551), pages 223-254, March.
    2. Davies, James B. & Shorrocks, Anthony F., 2000. "The distribution of wealth," Handbook of Income Distribution,in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 605-675 Elsevier.
    3. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2006. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 699-746.
    4. Helmuth Cremer & ) & Pierre Pestieau, 2003. "Wealth Transfer Taxation: A Survey," Public Economics 0311003, EconWPA.
    5. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
    6. Klevmarken, N. Anders, 2006. "The Distribution of Wealth in Sweden: Trends and Driving factors," Working Paper Series 2006:4, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    7. Claudia Biancotti & Giovanni D'Alessio, 2008. "Values, inequality and happiness," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 669, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    8. Orsetta Causa & Åsa Johansson, 2009. "Intergenerational Social Mobility," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 707, OECD Publishing.
    9. Graham Pyatt & Chau-nan Chen & John Fei, 1980. "The Distribution of Income by Factor Components," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(3), pages 451-473.
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    More about this item


    wealth; inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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