IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Wealth and Inheritance in Britain from 1896 to the Present

There has been a large rise in the UK ratio of personal wealth to national income. Personal wealth has grown since the 1970s about twice as fast in real terms as national income. Has this rise in the wealth-income ratio led to a corresponding increase in the wealth being passed on from one generation to the next? Are we returning to the levels of inheritance found in the 19th century? In France, the research of Thomas Piketty has highlighted the return of inheritance. The aim of this paper is to construct comparable UK evidence on the extent of the transmission of wealth in the form of estates and, insofar as it is possible, gifts inter vivos. It takes a long-run view of inheritance, starting from 1896, when the modern Estate Duty was introduced and exploits the extensive estate data published over the years in the UK. Construction of a long-run time series for more than a century is challenging, and there are important limitations to the resulting estimates which are discussed extensively in the paper. The resulting time-series demonstrates the major importance of inheritance in the UK before the First World War, when the total transmitted wealth represented some 20 per cent when expressed relative to net national income. In the inter-war period, the total was around 15 per cent, falling to some 10 per cent after the Second World War, and then falling further to below 5 per cent in the late 1970s. Since then, there has indeed been an upturn, although less marked than in France: a rise from 4.8 per cent in 1977 to 8.2 per cent in 2006. This increase was more or less in line with the increase in personal wealth, and has to be interpreted in the light of the changing net worth of the corporate and public sectors of the economy.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/case/cp/casepaper178.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE in its series CASE Papers with number /178.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Nov 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cep:sticas:/178
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/case/_new/publications/default.asp

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Atkinson, Anthony B & Gordon, James P F & Harrison, Alan, 1989. "Trends in the Shares of Top Wealth-Holders in Britain, 1923-1981," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 51(3), pages 315-32, August.
  2. Dunn, A T & Hoffman, P D R B, 1983. "Distribution of Wealth in the United Kingdom: Effect of Including Pension Rights and Analysis by Age-Group," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 29(3), pages 243-82, September.
  3. Atkinson, Tony & Backus, Peter G. & Micklewright, John, 2012. "Charitable Bequests and Wealth at Death," IZA Discussion Papers 7014, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. David Blake & J. Michael Orszag, 1999. "Annual estimates of personal wealth holdings in the United Kingdom since 1948," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(4), pages 397-421.
  5. Anthony B. Atkinson & Salvatore Morelli, 2014. "Chartbook of economic inequality," Working Papers 324, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cep:sticas:/178. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.