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Inequality and relative saving rates at the top

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  • Lieberknecht, Philipp
  • Vermeulen, Philip

Abstract

We estimate the long- and short-run relationship between top income and wealth shares for France and the US since 1913. We find strong evidence for a long-run cointegration relationship governed by relative saving rates at the top. For both countries, we estimate a decline in the relative saving rates at the top – after 1968 in France and 1983 in the US, equivalent to a reduction of the long-run gap between wealth and income inequality compared to the period before. In the short-run, income inequality drives wealth inequality, while the converse link is weaker and slower. Using counterfactual simulations, we find that the recent rise in wealth inequality in the US is largely attributable to the contemporary increase in income inequality. Modest income concentration dynamics and a stronger decline in relative saving rates at the top than in the US contributed to a more subdued rise in wealth inequality in France. JEL Classification: D31, E21, E25, N32, N34

Suggested Citation

  • Lieberknecht, Philipp & Vermeulen, Philip, 2018. "Inequality and relative saving rates at the top," Working Paper Series 2204, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20182204
    Note: 327651
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    File URL: https://www.ecb.europa.eu//pub/pdf/scpwps/ecb.wp2204.en.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Neves Costa, Rita & Pérez-Duarte, Sébastien, 2019. "Not all inequality measures were created equal - The measurement of wealth inequality, its decompositions, and an application to European household wealth," Statistics Paper Series 31, European Central Bank.
    2. Tippet, Benjamin & Onaran, Özlem & Wildauer, Rafael, 2021. "The determinants of wealth inequality in the UK, USA and France," Greenwich Papers in Political Economy 31260, University of Greenwich, Greenwich Political Economy Research Centre.
    3. Sasaki, Hiroaki & Hagiwara, Takefumi & Pham, Huong & Fukatani, Noriki & Ogawa, Shogo & Okahara, Naoto, 2021. "How Does Automation Affect Economic Growth and Income Distribution in a Two-Class Economy?," MPRA Paper 106481, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Salvatore Morelli, 2020. "The Dynamics of Wealth Concentration: Thoughts on Tony Atkinson’s Contributions," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 6(1), pages 197-205, March.
    5. Zhu, Junyi & Steiner, Viktor, 2020. "A Joint Top Income and Wealth Distribution," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224651, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    cointegration; income inequality; top shares; VECM; wealth inequality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-

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