IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedgfe/2009-13.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Ponds and streams: wealth and income in the U.S., 1989 to 2007

Author

Listed:
  • Arthur B. Kennickell

Abstract

Much discussion treats the working definitions of wealth and income as if they were self-evident, but definitional choices can make substantial differences in the overall picture. To provide a clear basis on which to examine family wealth and income their interrelationship, this paper begins with a basic discussion of a range of possible measures of those concepts. Using the measures developed, the paper examines the distributions of wealth and income and their joint properties using data from the 1989?2007 waves of the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). Among other things, the data show a complicated pattern of shifts in the wealth distribution, with clear gains across the broad middle and at the top. For income, there is a more straightforward picture of rising inequality. Over this period, wealth as a fraction of income moved up across both the distributions of wealth and income. Nonetheless, their joint copula distributions (a type of distribution with uniform margins) do not show noticeable changes over this time. The consistent pattern is that very high wealth and income and very low wealth and income go together, but in between these poles, the relationship is fairly diffuse. The paper also presents information on the composition of wealth and income over the 18-year period; the general patterns of holdings across the distributions did not change markedly, but there were some important shifts. For wealth, debt increased as a share of assets across the wealth distribution, the share of principal residences rose mainly below the median of net worth, the share of tax-deferred retirement accounts rose and the share of other financial assets declined. For income, the clearest change was a general decline in the relative importance of capital income other than that from businesses.

Suggested Citation

  • Arthur B. Kennickell, 2009. "Ponds and streams: wealth and income in the U.S., 1989 to 2007," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-13, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2009-13
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2009/200913/200913abs.html
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2009/200913/200913pap.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Erik Hurst & James P. Ziliak, 2006. "Do Welfare Asset Limits Affect Household Saving?: Evidence from Welfare Reform," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(1).
    2. Wolff, Edward N., 2007. "The retirement wealth of the baby boom generation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-40, January.
    3. Robert J. Gordon & Ian Dew-Becker, 2008. "Controversies about the Rise of American Inequality: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 13982, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Arthur B. Kennickell & Annika E. Sunden, 1997. "Pensions, social security, and the distribution of wealth," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1997-55, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman, 2014. "Wealth Inequality in the United States since 1913: Evidence from Capitalized Income Tax Data," NBER Working Papers 20625, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gabriel Zucman, 2019. "Global Wealth Inequality," NBER Working Papers 25462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Michael, Bryane & Hartwell, Christopher A. & Ho, Gary, 2013. "Does Financial Market Development Explain (or at Least Predict) the Demand for Wealth Management and Private Banking Services in Developing Markets?," EconStor Preprints 109960, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    4. Kaymak, Barış & Poschke, Markus, 2016. "The evolution of wealth inequality over half a century: The role of taxes, transfers and technology," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 1-25.
    5. Anthony B. Atkinson & Salvatore Morelli, 2014. "Chartbook of economic inequality," Working Papers 324, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    6. Matthew S. Rutledge & Steven A. Sass & Jorge D. Ramos-Mercado, 2017. "How Does Occupational Access for Older Workers Differ by Education?," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 283-305, September.
    7. Matthias Kredler & Daniel Barczyk, 2012. "Inequality and Asset Prices," 2012 Meeting Papers 929, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Richard C. Sutch, 2016. "The One-Percent across Two Centuries: A Replication of Thomas Piketty’s Data on the Distribution of Wealth for the United States," Working Papers 201602, University of California at Riverside, Department of Economics.
    9. Aboohamidi, Abbas & Chidmi, Benaissa, 2015. "Changes in the Wealth of American Households during the 2007-2009 Financial Crisis in the U.S," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205451, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    10. Fernholz, Ricardo T., 2016. "A Model of economic mobility and the distribution of wealth," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 168-192.
    11. Arkadiusz Sieron, 2017. "Inflation and Income Inequality," Prague Economic Papers, Prague University of Economics and Business, vol. 2017(6), pages 633-645.
    12. Sang Yoon (Tim) Lee, 2019. "Entrepreneurs, managers and inequality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 32, pages 42-67, April.
    13. David Gallusser & Matthias Krapf, 2019. "Joint Income-Wealth Inequality: An Application Using Administrative Tax Data," CESifo Working Paper Series 7876, CESifo.
    14. Alan J. Auerbach & Kevin Hassett, 2015. "Capital Taxation in the 21st Century," NBER Working Papers 20871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Graciela Sanroman & Guillermo Santos, 2017. "The Joint Distribution of Income and Wealth in Uruguay," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0717, Department of Economics - dECON.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Carlos Medina & Christian Posso, 2010. "Technical Change and Polarization of the Labor Market: Evidence for Brazil, Colombia and Mexico," Borradores de Economia 614, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    2. Till Treeck, 2014. "Did Inequality Cause The U.S. Financial Crisis?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(3), pages 421-448, July.
    3. Hero Ashman & Seth Neumuller, 2020. "Can Income Differences Explain the Racial Wealth Gap: A Quantitative Analysis," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 35, pages 220-239, January.
    4. Gittleman Maury, 2011. "Medicaid and Wealth: A Re-Examination," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-25, November.
    5. Lars Osberg, 2014. "What’s So Bad About More Inequality?," Working Papers daleconwp2014-01, Dalhousie University, Department of Economics.
    6. Richard B. FREEMAN, 2010. "It's financialization!," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 149(2), pages 163-183, June.
    7. Ricardo Bebczuk & Leonardo Gasparini & Noelia Garbero & Julian Amendolaggine, 2015. "Understanding the Determinants of Household Saving: Micro Evidence for Latin America," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0189, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    8. Enrico Moretti, 2013. "Real Wage Inequality," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 65-103, January.
    9. Hardy Hulley & Rebecca Mckibbin & Andreas Pedersen & Susan Thorp, 2013. "Means-Tested Public Pensions, Portfolio Choice and Decumulation in Retirement," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 89(284), pages 31-51, March.
    10. Jesper Roine & Daniel Waldenström, 2009. "Wealth Concentration over the Path of Development: Sweden, 1873–2006," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 111(1), pages 151-187, March.
    11. Nathalie Chusseau & Michel Dumont, 2012. "Growing Income Inequalities in Advanced," Working Papers hal-00993359, HAL.
    12. Sonja Jovicic, 2015. "Wage Inequality, Skill Inequality, and Employment: Evidence from PIAAC," Schumpeter Discussion Papers SDP15007, Universitätsbibliothek Wuppertal, University Library.
    13. Jean-Luc Gaffard & Francesco Saraceno, 2009. "Redistribution des revenus et instabilité. À la recherche des causes réelles de la crise financière," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 0(3), pages 75-86.
    14. Olga Gorbachev, 2011. "Did Household Consumption Become More Volatile?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2248-2270, August.
    15. Arthur B. Kennickell, 2003. "A rolling tide: changes in the distribution of wealth in the U.S., 1989-2001," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2003-24, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    16. David Love & Lucie Schmidt, 2015. "Comprehensive Wealth of Immigrants and Natives," Working Papers wp328, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    17. Peter Hoeller, 2012. "Less Income Inequality and More Growth – Are they Compatible? Part 4. Top Incomes," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 927, OECD Publishing.
    18. Roine, Jesper & Waldenström, Daniel, 2014. "Long run trends in the distribution of income and wealth," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2014:5, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    19. Yunju Nam, 2008. "Welfare Reform and Asset Accumulation: Asset Limit Changes, Financial Assets, and Vehicle Ownership," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 89(1), pages 133-154, March.
    20. Grinstein-Weiss, Michal & Wagner, Kristen & Ssewamala, Fred M., 2006. "Saving and asset accumulation among low-income families with children in IDAs," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 193-211, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wealth; Income distribution;

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2009-13. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/frbgvus.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.