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The distribution of wealth, 1983-1992: secular growth, cyclical stability

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  • John C. Weicher

Abstract

This article describes the changes in the concentration of wealth among U.S. households between 1983 and 1992, a period which nearly coincides with the most recent business cycle. The distribution of wealth has received popular attention recently, based on reports that it became markedly more unequal during the economic expansion of the 1980s. New data for 1992 indicates that the distribution was about the same in 1992 as in 1983, or for that matter as in 1962. A modest, insignificant increase in concentration between 1983 and 1989 was completely reversed by 1992. While the distribution was stable, total wealth and wealth per household increased over the cycle; rich and poor households enjoyed an approximately equal gain, in percentage terms.

Suggested Citation

  • John C. Weicher, 1996. "The distribution of wealth, 1983-1992: secular growth, cyclical stability," Working Papers 1996-012, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:1996-012
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard T. Curtin & Thomas Juster & James N. Morgan, 1989. "Survey Estimates of Wealth: An Assessment of Quality," NBER Chapters,in: The Measurement of Saving, Investment, and Wealth, pages 473-552 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Robert E. Lipsey & Helen Stone Tice, 1989. "The Measurement of Saving, Investment, and Wealth," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number lips89-1, June.
    3. James M. Poterba & Andrew A. Samwick, 1995. "Stock Ownership Patterns, Stock Market Fluctuations, and Consumption," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(2), pages 295-372.
    4. Lerman, Robert I. & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1989. "Improving the accuracy of estimates of Gini coefficients," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 43-47, September.
    5. Lynn Karoly & Gary Burtless, 1995. "Demographic change, rising earnings inequality, and the distribution of personal well-being, 1959–1989," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 32(3), pages 379-405, August.
    6. Arthur B. Kennickell & Martha Starr-McCluer, 1994. "Changes in family finances from 1989 to 1992: evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Oct, pages 861-882.
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    Keywords

    Wealth;

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