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Wealth Concentration over the Path of Development: Sweden, 1873–2006

Author

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  • Roine, Jesper

    () (Stockholm School of Economics)

  • Waldenström, Daniel

    () (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))

Abstract

We study the development of wealth concentration in Sweden over 130 years, from the beginning of industrialization until present day. Our series are based on a wide array of new evidence from estate- and wealth tax data, estimates of foreign and domestic family firm-wealth and of pension and social security wealth. We find that the Swedish wealth concentration was at a historically high level in the agrarian state and that it did not change much during early industrialization. From World War I up until about 1950, the richest percentile lost ground to the rest of the top wealth decile where relatively income rich households accumulated new wealth. In the postwar period, the entire top decile lost out relative to the rest of the population, much due to the spread of owner-occupied housing. Around 1980, wealth compression stopped and inequality increased. We introduce new ways of approximating the effects of international flows and find that the recent increase in Swedish wealth inequality is likely to be larger than what official estimates suggest.

Suggested Citation

  • Roine, Jesper & Waldenström, Daniel, 2007. "Wealth Concentration over the Path of Development: Sweden, 1873–2006," Working Paper Series 722, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 13 Jun 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0722
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Arthur B. Kennickell, 2006. "Currents and undercurrents: changes in the distribution of wealth, 1989-2004," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2006-13, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Wolff, Edward N., 2007. "The retirement wealth of the baby boom generation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 1-40, January.
    4. Ohlsson, Henry & Roine, Jesper & Waldenstrom, Daniel, 2006. "Long-Run Changes in the Concentration of Wealth: An Overview of Recent Findings," WIDER Working Paper Series 103, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. Roine, Jesper & Waldenstrom, Daniel, 2008. "The evolution of top incomes in an egalitarian society: Sweden, 1903-2004," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 366-387, February.
    6. 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.
    7. Feinstein, Charles, 1996. "The Equalizing of Wealth in Britain since the Second World War," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 96-105, Spring.
    8. N. Anders Klevmarken, 2004. "On The Wealth Dynamics Of Swedish Families, 1984-98," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 50(4), pages 469-491, December.
    9. Anthony Atkinson & Thomas Piketty, 2007. "Top incomes over the twentieth century: A contrast between continental european and english-speaking countries," Post-Print halshs-00754859, HAL.
    10. Atkinson, A. B. & Piketty, Thomas (ed.), 2007. "Top Incomes Over the Twentieth Century: A Contrast Between Continental European and English-Speaking Countries," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286881.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wealth concentration; Wealth distribution; Inequality; Income distribution; Sweden; Welfare state; Pension wealth; Augmented wealth;

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-

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