IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/gat/wpaper/1935.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Accounting for Wealth Inequality Dynamics: Methods, Estimates and Simulations for France

Author

Listed:
  • Bertrand Garbinti

    (Banque de France, Crest)

  • Jonathan Goupille-Lebret

    (Univ Lyon, CNRS, ENS de Lyon, GATE UMR 5824, F-69342 Lyon, France)

  • Thomas Piketty

    (Paris School of Economics)

Abstract

Measuring and understanding the evolution of wealth inequality is a key challenge for researchers, policy makers, and the general public. This paper breaks new ground on this topic by presenting a new method to estimate and study wealth inequality. This method combines fiscal data with household surveys and national accounts in order to provide annual wealth distribution series, with detailed breakdowns by percentiles, age and assets. Using the case of France as an illustration, we show that the resulting series can be used to better analyze the evolution and the determinants of wealth inequality dynamics over the 1970-2014 period. We show that the decline in wealth inequality ends in the early 1980s, marking the beginning of a rise in the top 1% wealth share, though with significant fluctuations due largely to asset price movements. Rising inequality in saving rates coupled with highly stratified rates of returns has led to rising wealth concentration in spite of the opposing effect of house price increases. We develop a simple simulation model highlighting how changes in the combination of unequal saving rates, rates of return and labor earnings that occurred in the early 1980s generated large multiplicative effects that led to radically different steady-state levels of wealth inequality. Taking advantage of the joint distribution of income and wealth, we show that top wealth holders are almost exclusively top capital earners, and less and less are made up of top labor earners; it has become increasingly difficult in recent decades to access top wealth groups with one’s labor income only.

Suggested Citation

  • Bertrand Garbinti & Jonathan Goupille-Lebret & Thomas Piketty, 2019. "Accounting for Wealth Inequality Dynamics: Methods, Estimates and Simulations for France," Working Papers 1935, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
  • Handle: RePEc:gat:wpaper:1935
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: ftp://ftp.gate.cnrs.fr/RePEc/2019/1935.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Arthur B. Kennickell, 2017. "Lining Up : Survey and Administrative Data Estimates of Wealth Concentration," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-017, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Piketty, Thomas & Postel-Vinay, Gilles & Rosenthal, Jean-Laurent, 2014. "Inherited vs self-made wealth: Theory & evidence from a rentier society (Paris 1872–1927)," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 21-40.
    3. Bertrand Garbinti & Pierre Lamarche, 2014. "Les hauts revenus épargnent‑ils davantage ?," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 472(1), pages 49-64.
    4. Mariacristina De Nardi & Giulio Fella, 2017. "Saving and Wealth Inequality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 26, pages 280-300, October.
    5. Bertrand Garbinti & Jonathan Goupille-Lebret & Thomas Piketty, 2021. "Accounting for Wealth-Inequality Dynamics: Methods, Estimates, and Simulations for France," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 620-663.
    6. Thomas Piketty, 2011. "On the Long-Run Evolution of Inheritance: France 1820--2050," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1071-1131.
    7. Garbinti, Bertrand & Goupille-Lebret, Jonathan & Piketty, Thomas, 2018. "Income inequality in France, 1900–2014: Evidence from Distributional National Accounts (DINA)," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 63-77.
    8. 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.
    9. Elinder, Mikael & Erixson, Oscar & Waldenström, Daniel, 2018. "Inheritance and wealth inequality: Evidence from population registers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 17-30.
    10. Jody Overland & Christopher D. Carroll & David N. Weil, 2000. "Saving and Growth with Habit Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 341-355, June.
    11. Bertrand Garbinti & Jonathan Goupille-Lebret & Thomas Piketty, 2016. "Accounting for Wealth Inequality Dynamics: Methods, Estimates and Simulations for France (1800-2014)," Working Papers halshs-02794339, HAL.
    12. Thomas Piketty & Gabriel Zucman, 2014. "Capital is Back: Wealth-Income Ratios in Rich Countries 1700–2010," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(3), pages 1255-1310.
    13. Antoine BozioBy & Carl Emmerson & Cormac O’Dea & Gemma Tetlow, 2017. "Do the rich save more? Evidence from linked survey and administrative data," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 1101-1119.
    14. Alvaredo, Facundo & Atkinson, Anthony B. & Morelli, Salvatore, 2018. "Top wealth shares in the UK over more than a century," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 26-47.
    15. Robert J. Lampman, 1962. "The Share of Top Wealth-Holders in National Wealth, 1922-56," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number lamp62-1, January-J.
    16. Andreas Fagereng & Luigi Guiso & Davide Malacrino & Luigi Pistaferri, 2020. "Heterogeneity and Persistence in Returns to Wealth," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(1), pages 115-170, January.
    17. Kopczuk, Wojciech & Saez, Emmanuel, 2004. "Top Wealth Shares in the United States, 1916-2000: Evidence From Estate Tax Returns," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 57(2), pages 445-487, June.
    18. Gabriel Zucman, 2019. "Global Wealth Inequality," NBER Working Papers 25462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Thomas Blanchet & Ignacio Flores & Marc Morgan, 2022. "The weight of the rich: improving surveys using tax data," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 20(1), pages 119-150, March.
    20. Andreas Fagereng & Luigi Guiso & Davide Malacrino & Luigi Pistaferri, 2016. "Heterogeneity in Returns to Wealth and the Measurement of Wealth Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 651-655, May.
    21. Wojciech Kopczuk, 2015. "What Do We Know about the Evolution of Top Wealth Shares in the United States?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(1), pages 47-66, Winter.
    22. Philip Vermeulen, 2018. "How Fat is the Top Tail of the Wealth Distribution?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 64(2), pages 357-387, June.
    23. Bertrand Garbinti & Jonathan Goupille-Lebret & Thomas Piketty, 2016. "Appendix to "Accounting for Wealth Inequality Dynamics: Methods, Estimates and Simulations for France (1800-2014)"," Working Papers halshs-02794354, HAL.
    24. Jesse Bricker & Alice Henriques & Jacob Krimmel & John Sabelhaus, 2016. "Measuring Income and Wealth at the Top Using Administrative and Survey Data," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 47(1 (Spring), pages 261-331.
    25. Karen E. Dynan & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2004. "Do the Rich Save More?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 397-444, April.
    26. Jess Benhabib & Alberto Bisin, 2018. "Skewed Wealth Distributions: Theory and Empirics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 56(4), pages 1261-1291, December.
    27. B. Garbinti & P. Lamarche, 2014. "Do the High-Income Households Save More?," Documents de Travail de l'Insee - INSEE Working Papers g2014-10, Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques.
    28. Jérôme Bourdieu & Lionel Kesztenbaum & Gilles Postel-Vinay, 2014. "L'enquête TRA, histoire d'un outil, outil pour l'histoire : Tome 1 (1793-1902)," Post-Print halshs-00941852, HAL.
    29. Moritz Kuhn & Moritz Schularick & Ulrike I. Steins, 2020. "Income and Wealth Inequality in America, 1949–2016," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(9), pages 3469-3519.
    30. Goupille-Lebret, Jonathan & Infante, Jose, 2018. "Behavioral responses to inheritance tax: Evidence from notches in France," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 21-34.
    31. Antoine Bozio & Bertrand Garbinti & Jonathan Goupille-Lebret & Malka Guillot & Thomas Piketty, 2018. "Inequality and Redistribution in France, 1990-2018: Evidence from Post-Tax Distributional National Accounts (DINA)," Working Papers hal-02878151, HAL.
    32. Paul Eckerstorfer & Johannes Halak & Jakob Kapeller & Bernhard Schütz & Florian Springholz & Rafael Wildauer, 2016. "Correcting for the Missing Rich: An Application to Wealth Survey Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62(4), pages 605-627, December.
    33. Thomas Piketty & Gilles Postel-Vinay & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 2006. "Wealth Concentration in a Developing Economy: Paris and France, 1807–1994," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 236-256, March.
    34. Pamela Katic & Andrew Leigh, 2016. "Top Wealth Shares in Australia 1915–2012," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62(2), pages 209-222, June.
    35. Bertrand Garbinti & Jonathan Goupille-Lebret & Thomas Piketty, 0. "Accounting for Wealth-Inequality Dynamics: Methods, Estimates, and Simulations for France," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 620-663.
    36. Frémeaux, Nicolas & Leturcq, Marion, 2020. "Inequalities and the individualization of wealth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 184(C).
    37. Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman, 2016. "Editor's Choice Wealth Inequality in the United States since 1913: Evidence from Capitalized Income Tax Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(2), pages 519-578.
    38. Gabriel Zucman, 2019. "Global Wealth Inequality," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 11(1), pages 109-138, August.
    39. Luc Arrondel & François Guillaumat-Tailliet & Daniel Verger, 1996. "Montants du patrimoine et des actifs : qualité et représentativité des déclarations des ménages," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 296(1), pages 145-164.
    40. Alvaredo, Facundo & Atkinson, Anthony B. & Morelli, Salvatore, 2018. "Top wealth shares in the UK over more than a century," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 26-47.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    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. Bertrand Garbinti & Jonathan Goupille-Lebret & Thomas Piketty, 2016. "Accounting for Wealth Inequality Dynamics: Methods, Estimates and Simulations for France (1800-2014)," World Inequality Lab Working Papers halshs-02794339, HAL.
    2. Gabriel Zucman, 2019. "Global Wealth Inequality," NBER Working Papers 25462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Clara Toledano, 2017. "House Price Cycles, Wealth Inequality and Portfolio Reshuffling," Working Papers halshs-02797549, HAL.
    4. Paolo Acciari & Salvatore Morelli, 2020. "Wealth Transfers and Net Wealth at Death: Evidence from the Italian Inheritance Tax Records 1995–2016," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring Distribution and Mobility of Income and Wealth, pages 175-203, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Arun Advani & George Bangham & Jack Leslie, 2021. "The UK's wealth distribution and characteristics of high‐wealth households," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 42(3-4), pages 397-430, September.
    6. Clara Toledano, 2017. "House Price Cycles, Wealth Inequality and Portfolio Reshuffling," World Inequality Lab Working Papers halshs-02797549, HAL.
    7. repec:ajk:ajkpbs:001 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Clara Toledano, 2017. "House Price Cycles, Wealth Inequality and Portfolio Reshuffling," PSE Working Papers halshs-02797549, HAL.
    9. Alvaredo, Facundo & Atkinson, Anthony B. & Morelli, Salvatore, 2018. "Top wealth shares in the UK over more than a century," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 26-47.
    10. Advani, Arun & Bangham, George & Leslie, Jack, 2021. "The UK's wealth distribution and characteristics of high-wealth households," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 576, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    11. Bertrand Garbinti & Jonathan Goupille-Lebret, 2019. "Income and Wealth Inequality in France: Developments and Links over the Long Term," Economie et Statistique / Economics and Statistics, Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques (INSEE), issue 510-511-5, pages 69-87.
    12. Alvaredo, Facundo & Atkinson, Anthony B. & Morelli, Salvatore, 2018. "Top wealth shares in the UK over more than a century," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 26-47.
    13. Paolo Acciari & Facundo Alvaredo & Salvatore Morelli, 2021. "The concentration of personal wealth in Italy 1995-2016," PSE Working Papers halshs-03226113, HAL.
    14. Bertrand Garbinti & Frédérique Savignac, 2020. "Accounting for Intergenerational Wealth Mobility in France over the 20th Century: Method and Estimations," Working papers 776, Banque de France.
    15. Spencer Bastani & Daniel Waldenström, 2020. "How Should Capital Be Taxed?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(4), pages 812-846, September.
    16. 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.
    17. Enea Baselgia & Isabel Z. Martinez, 2022. "Tracking and Taxing the Super-Rich: Insights from Swiss Rich Lists," KOF Working papers 22-501, KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich.
    18. Andersen, Torben M & Bhattacharya, Joydeep & Grodecka-Messi, Anna & Mann, Katja, 2022. "Pension reform and wealth inequality: evidence from Denmark," CEPR Discussion Papers 17078, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. Daniel Waldenström, 2021. "Wealth and History: An Update," CESifo Working Paper Series 9366, CESifo.
    20. Waldenström, Daniel, 2021. "Wealth and History: An Update," Working Paper Series 1411, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    21. Moritz Kuhn & Moritz Schularick & Ulrike I. Steins, 2020. "Income and Wealth Inequality in America, 1949–2016," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(9), pages 3469-3519.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    income inequality; wealth inequality; gender inequality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:gat:wpaper:1935. 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: https://edirc.repec.org/data/gateefr.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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Nelly Wirth The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Nelly Wirth to update the entry or send us the correct address (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/gateefr.html .

    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.