IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hal/journl/halshs-01109372.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Capital is Back: Wealth-Income Ratios in Rich Countries 1700–2010

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas Piketty

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres, PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement)

  • Gabriel Zucman

    (Department of Mathematics [Berkeley] - University of California [Berkeley] - University of California, LSE - London School of Economics and Political Science)

Abstract

How do aggregate wealth-to-income ratios evolve in the long run and why? We address this question using 1970–2010 national balance sheets recently compiled in the top eight developed economies. For the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and France, we are able to extend our analysis as far back as 1700. We find in every country a gradual rise` of wealth-income ratios in recent decades, from about 200–300% in 1970 to 400–600% in 2010. In effect, today's ratios appear to be returning to the high values observed in Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (600–700%). This can be explained by a long-run asset price recovery (itself driven by changes in capital policies since the world wars) and by the slowdown of productivity and population growth, in line with the β=sg Harrod-Domar-Solow formula. That is, for a given net saving rate s = 10%, the long-run wealth-income ratio β is about 300% if g = 3% and 600% if g = 1.5%. Our results have implications for capital taxation and regulation and shed new light on the changing nature of wealth, the shape of the production function, and the rise of capital shares.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Piketty & Gabriel Zucman, 2014. "Capital is Back: Wealth-Income Ratios in Rich Countries 1700–2010," Post-Print halshs-01109372, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-01109372
    DOI: 10.1093/qje/qju018
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01109372
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    3. Wojciech Kopczuk & Joseph P. Lupton, 2007. "To Leave or Not to Leave: The Distribution of Bequest Motives," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 207-235.
    4. D. W. Jorgenson & Z. Griliches, 1967. "The Explanation of Productivity Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(3), pages 249-283.
    5. Babeau, Andre, 1983. "The Macro-Economic Wealth-Income Ratio of Households," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 29(4), pages 347-370, December.
    6. Robert M. Solow, 1956. "A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 65-94.
    7. Brent Neiman, 2014. "The Global Decline of the Labor Share," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 61-103.
    8. Simon, Julian L, 1990. "Great and Almost-Great Magnitudes in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 149-156, Winter.
    9. Greenwood, Daphne T & Wolff, Edward N, 1992. "Changes in Wealth in the United States, 1962-1983: Savings, Capital Gains, Inheritance, and Lifetime Transfers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 5(4), pages 261-288.
    10. Gabriel Zucman, 2013. "The Missing Wealth of Nations: Are Europe and the U.S. net Debtors or net Creditors?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(3), pages 1321-1364.
    11. Piketty, Thomas & Zucman, Gabriel, 2014. "Wealth and Inheritance in the Long Run," CEPR Discussion Papers 10072, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    13. repec:oup:qjecon:v:129:y:2013:i:1:p:61-103 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:ucp:bkecon:9780226301532 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Kevin O’rourke & Jeffrey Williamson, 2005. "From Malthus to Ohlin: Trade, Industrialisation and Distribution Since 1500," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 5-34, January.
    16. Robert Eisner, 1980. "Capital Gains and Income: Real Changes in the Value of Capital in the United States, 1946-77," NBER Chapters, in: The Measurement of Capital, pages 175-346, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Luci Ellis & Kathryn Smith, 2010. "The Global Upward Trend in the Profit Share," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 56(3), pages 231-256.
    18. Charles I. Jones & Paul M. Romer, 2010. "The New Kaldor Facts: Ideas, Institutions, Population, and Human Capital," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 224-245, January.
    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. Jones, C.I., 2016. "The Facts of Economic Growth," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 3-69, Elsevier.
    2. Piketty, Thomas & Zucman, Gabriel, 2014. "Wealth and Inheritance in the Long Run," CEPR Discussion Papers 10072, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Juan Carlos Aquino & N. R. Ramírez-Rondán, 2020. "Estimating factor shares from nonstationary panel data," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 58(5), pages 2353-2380, May.
    4. Amavilah, Voxi Heinrich, 2018. "Endogenous constraints, coefficients of economic distance, and economic performance of African countries – An exploratory essay," MPRA Paper 90065, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Gundlach, Erich, 1993. "Empirical evidence for alternative growth models: time series results," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 1556, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    6. Eli Berman, 2000. "Does Factor-Biased Technological Change Stifle International Covergence? Evidence from Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 7964, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. A. Bergeaud & G. Cette & R. Lecat, 2016. "The role of production factor quality and technology diffusion in 20th century productivity growth," Working papers 588, Banque de France.
    8. Porzio, Tommaso & Santangelo, Gabriella, 2017. "Human Capital and Structural Change," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt1ws4x2fg, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
    9. Rup Singh, 2015. "Forces of economic growth in China, India, and other Asian countries," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 29(1), pages 62-81, May.
    10. Sergey Sinelnikov-Murylev & Sergey Drobyshevsky & Maria Kazakova & Michael Alexeev, 2016. "Decomposition of Russia's GDP Growth Rates," Research Paper Series, Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, issue 167P, pages 123-123.
    11. Slichter, David & Taveras, Elisa & Monge, Daniela, 2021. "The Skills of Rich and Poor Country Workers," MPRA Paper 106050, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Antonin Bergeaud & Gilbert Cette & Rémy Lecat, 2018. "The role of production factor quality and technology diffusion in twentieth-century productivity growth," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 12(1), pages 61-97, January.
    13. Olusanya, Oluwakorede, 2016. "Causality between Human Resource Development and the Nigerian Economic Performance," MPRA Paper 100854, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Asongu, Simplice & Amavilah, Voxi & Andrés, Antonio R., 2014. "Economic Implications of Business Dynamics for KE-Associated Economic Growth and Inclusive Development in African Countries," MPRA Paper 63793, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Shrabani Saha & Kunal Sen, 2019. "The corruption-growth relationship: Do political institutions matter?," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2019-65, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    16. Bernd Aumann & Rolf Scheufele, 2010. "Is East Germany catching up? A time series perspective," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(2), pages 177-192.
    17. repec:cbh:journl:v:14:y:2015:i:3:p:88-105 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Matthew Higgins & Daniel Levy & Andrew T. Young, 2003. "Growth and Convergence across the US: Evidence from County-Level Data," Working Papers 2003-03, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
    19. Gupta, Dipak K. & Madhavan, M. C. & Blee, Andrew, 1998. "Democracy, economic growth and political instability: An integrated perspective," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 587-611.
    20. Fung, Michael K., 2009. "Financial development and economic growth: Convergence or divergence?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 56-67, February.
    21. Scott L. Baier & Gerald P. Dwyer & Robert Tamura, 2006. "How Important are Capital and Total Factor Productivity for Economic Growth?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(1), pages 23-49, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Price level; France; United States; Germany; wealth-to-income ratios; United Kingdom;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor 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:hal:journl:halshs-01109372. 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: (CCSD). General contact details of provider: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/ .

    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.