IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hal/pseose/halshs-00944868.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Inherited vs self-made wealth: Theory & evidence from a rentier society (Paris 1872-1927)

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas Piketty

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS-PSL - 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, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Gilles Postel-Vinay

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - ENS-PSL - 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, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Jean-Laurent Rosenthal

    (CS CALTECH - Computer Science Department - CALTECH - California Institute of Technology)

Abstract

We divide decedents into two groups: "rentiers" (whose wealth is smaller than the capitalized value of their inherited wealth) and "savers" (who consumed less than their labor income). Applying this split to a unique micro data set on inheritance and matrimonial property regimes, we find that Paris from 1872 to 1927 was a "rentier society". Rentiers made up about 10% of the population of Parisians but owned 70% of aggregate wealth. Rentier societies thrive when the rate of return on private wealth r is larger than the growth rate g (say, r = 4% vs g = 2%). This was the case in the 19th and early 20th centuries and is likely to happen again in the 21st century. At the time, top successors' capital income sustains living standards far beyond what labor income alone would permit.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Piketty & Gilles Postel-Vinay & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 2014. "Inherited vs self-made wealth: Theory & evidence from a rentier society (Paris 1872-1927)," PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" halshs-00944868, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:pseose:halshs-00944868
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2013.07.004
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00944868
    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. Modigliani, Franco, 1988. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers and Life Cycle Saving in the Accumulation of Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 15-40, Spring.
    2. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
    3. 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.
    4. David Le Bris & Pierre-Cyrille Hautcoeur, 2009. "A challenge to triumphant optimists? A blue chips index for the Paris Stock-Exchange (1854-2007)," Working Papers halshs-00586765, HAL.
    5. Modigliani, Franco, 1986. "Life Cycle, Individual Thrift, and the Wealth of Nations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 297-313, June.
    6. 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.
    7. Le Bris, David & Hautcœur, Pierre-Cyrille, 2010. "A challenge to triumphant optimists? A blue chips index for the Paris stock exchange, 1854–2007," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(2), pages 141-183, October.
    8. Cagetti, Marco & De Nardi, Mariacristina, 2008. "Wealth Inequality: Data And Models," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(S2), pages 285-313, September.
    9. 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.
    10. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 706-732, August.
    11. Gilles Postel-Vinay & Philip T. Hoffman & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 2007. "Surviving large losses: financial crises, the middle class, and the development of capital markets," PSE-Ecole d'économie de Paris (Postprint) halshs-00826238, HAL.
    12. Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1988. "Intergenerational Transfers and Savings," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 41-58, Spring.
    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. Ohlsson, Henry & Roine, Jesper & Waldenström, Daniel, 2014. "Inherited Wealth over the Path of Development: Sweden, 1810–2010," Working Paper Series 1033, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    2. Mauricio De Rosa, 2022. "Accumulation, inheritance and wealth distribution: first estimates of the untold half," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 22-07, Instituto de Economía - IECON.
    3. Facundo Alvaredo & Bertrand Garbinti & Thomas Piketty, 2017. "On the Share of Inheritance in Aggregate Wealth: Europe and the USA, 1900–2010," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 84(334), pages 239-260, April.
    4. 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.
    5. Wojciech Kopczuk, 2012. "Taxation of Intergenerational Transfers and Wealth," NBER Working Papers 18584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Adrian Adermon & Mikael Lindahl & Daniel Waldenström, 2018. "Intergenerational Wealth Mobility and the Role of Inheritance: Evidence from Multiple Generations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 128(612), pages 482-513, July.
    7. von Werder, Marten, 2018. "Intergenerational transfers: How do they shape the German wealth distribution?," Discussion Papers 2018/15, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    8. Korom, Philipp, 2016. "Inherited advantage: The importance of inheritance for private wealth accumulation in Europe," MPIfG Discussion Paper 16/11, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    9. Miguel Sánchez Romero & Naohiro Ogawa & Rikiya Matsukura, 2013. "To give or not to give: bequest estimate and wealth impact based on a CGE model with realistic demography in Japan," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2013-012, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    10. Piketty, Thomas & Zucman, Gabriel, 2014. "Wealth and Inheritance in the Long Run," CEPR Discussion Papers 10072, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Roger, Muriel & Arrondel, Luc & Savignac, Frédérique, 2014. "Wealth and income in the euro area: Heterogeneity in households' behaviours?," Working Paper Series 1709, European Central Bank.
    12. Rajnish Mehra & Facundo Piguillem & Edward C. Prescott, 2007. "Intermediated quantities and returns," Working Papers 655, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    13. Arrondel, Luc & Masson, Andre, 2006. "Altruism, exchange or indirect reciprocity: what do the data on family transfers show?," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, in: S. Kolm & Jean Mercier Ythier (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Giving, Altruism and Reciprocity, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 971-1053, Elsevier.
    14. Anita Tiefensee & Christian Westermeier, 2016. "Intergenerational Transfers and Wealth in the Euro-Area: The Relevance of Inheritances and Gifts in Absolute and Relative Terms," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1556, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    15. Frank A. Cowell & Philippe Kerm, 2015. "Wealth Inequality: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 671-710, September.
    16. John Laitner & Amanda Sonnega, 2010. "Intergenerational Transfers in the Health and Retirement Study Data," Working Papers wp238, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    17. Caballé, Jordi & Moro-Egido, Ana I., 2021. "Do aspirations reduce differences in wealth accumulation?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 102(C).
    18. Neil Cummins, 2022. "The hidden wealth of English dynasties, 1892–2016," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 75(3), pages 667-702, August.
    19. Michael D. Hurd, 1992. "Wealth Depletion and Life-Cycle Consumption by the Elderly," NBER Chapters, in: Topics in the Economics of Aging, pages 135-162, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Laitner, John & Juster, F Thomas, 1996. "New Evidence on Altruism: A Study of TIAA-CREF Retirees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 893-908, September.

    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:pseose:halshs-00944868. 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://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 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: CCSD (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/ .

    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.