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The Wealth Distribution in Developing Economies: Comparing the United States to Chile

  • Sofía Bauducco
  • Gonzalo Castex

This study examines the differences of income, assets, debt and wealth distributions between the U.S. and Chile. The study uses data from the 2008 Survey of Consumer Finance for the U.S. and data from the 2007 Financial Household Survey from Chile. The article reports different features on inequality among the two countries at the aggregate level but also by head of household demographic characteristics. We find that income and debt are more unequally distributed in Chile than in the US, but assets and wealth are more equally distributed in Chile than in the US. Our results suggest that, among theories that seek to explain wealth inequality in the US, entrepreneurship is the one that seems more plausible.

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Paper provided by Central Bank of Chile in its series Working Papers Central Bank of Chile with number 702.

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Date of creation: Aug 2013
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Handle: RePEc:chb:bcchwp:702
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  1. Marco Cagetti & Mariacristina De Nardi, 2003. "Entrepreneurship, frictions, and wealth," Staff Report 322, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Nezih Guner & Remzi Kaygusuz & Gustavo Ventura, 2014. "Income Taxation of U.S. Households: Facts and Parametric Estimates," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(4), pages 559-581, October.
  3. Cagetti, Marco & De Nardi, Mariacristina, 2008. "Wealth Inequality: Data And Models," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(S2), pages 285-313, September.
  4. Mariacristina De Nardi, 2004. "Wealth Inequality and Intergenerational Links," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(3), pages 743-768.
  5. Cordoba, Juan Carlos, 2010. "US Inequality: Debt Constraints or Incomplete Asset Markets?," Staff General Research Papers 32120, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  6. David Domeij & Jonathan Heathcote, 2004. "On The Distributional Effects Of Reducing Capital Taxes," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(2), pages 523-554, 05.
  7. Rodrigo Alfaro & Natalia Gallardo & Roberto Stein, 2010. "The Determinants of Household Debt Defa," Working Papers Central Bank of Chile 574, Central Bank of Chile.
  8. Vincenzo Quadrini, 1997. "Entrepreneurship, saving and social mobility," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 116, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. Huggett, Mark, 1996. "Wealth distribution in life-cycle economies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 469-494, December.
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