IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Wealth Dynamics in the 1980’s and 1990’s: Sweden and the U.S


  • Klevmarken, Anders

    () (Department of Economics)

  • Lupton, Joseph

    (Institute for Social Research and)

  • Stafford, Frank

    () (Institute for Social Research and)


Given differences in public saving programs between Sweden and the United States, an examination of household private wealth accumulation in these two countries can be enlightening. In this paper we examine wealth inequality and mobility in Sweden and the United States over the past decade. We show that wealth inequality has been significantly greater in the U.S. than in Sweden and, while remaining relatively constant since the mid-1980’s in Sweden, has increased in the United States. In addition to less inequality and a higher median wealth, we also show that wealth quintile mobility in the 1990’s has been 25.7% higher in Sweden, as measured by Shorrocks’ index. Noting the role of various demographic components in shaping the patterns of wealth mobility as well as the importance of the initial wealth distribution, we utilize a matching algorithm that controls for these differences. Matching on the initial wealth distribution alone accounts for most of the mobility difference between the two countries and yields a Shorrocks’ index in the U.S. 11.1% less than that in Sweden. Adjusting for the large degree of imputation in the Swedish data, the U.S. index is only 3.4% to 6.1% less than that of Sweden. Along with exploring the role of racial composition differences, we conclude tha demographic variation between Sweden and the U.S. play very little role in explaining wealth mobility beyond that explained by the initial wealth distribution. Despite the higher quintile mobility in Sweden, dollar mobility is still high in the United States.

Suggested Citation

  • Klevmarken, Anders & Lupton, Joseph & Stafford, Frank, 2000. "Wealth Dynamics in the 1980’s and 1990’s: Sweden and the U.S," Working Paper Series 2000:18, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2000_018

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Deaton, Angus, 1991. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(5), pages 1221-1248, September.
    2. F. Thomas Juster & James P. Smith, 2004. "Improving the Quality of Economic Data: Lessons from the HRS and AHEAD," Labor and Demography 0402010, EconWPA.
    3. Francine D. Blau & John W. Graham, 1990. "Black-White Differences in Wealth and Asset Composition," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 321-339.
    4. Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas & Jonathan A. Parker, 2002. "Consumption Over the Life Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(1), pages 47-89, January.
    5. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst, 2002. "The Transition To Home Ownership And The Black-White Wealth Gap," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 281-297, May.
    6. Christopher D. Carroll, 1991. "Buffer stock saving and the permanent income hypothesis," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 114, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    7. Erik Hurst & Ming Ching Luoh & Frank P. Stafford, 1998. "The Wealth Dynamics of American Families, 1984-94," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 267-338.
    8. Frank P. Stafford & Ngina S. Chiteji, 1999. "Portfolio Choices of Parents and Their Children as Young Adults: Asset Accumulation by African-American Families," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 377-380, May.
    9. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
    10. Klevmarken, Anders, 1982. "Household Market and Nonmarket Activities (HUS) – A Pilot Study," Working Paper Series 77, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    11. Menchik, Paul L & Jianakoplos, Nancy Ammon, 1997. "Black-White Wealth Inequality: Is Inheritance the Reason?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 428-442, April.
    12. Shorrocks, A F, 1978. "The Measurement of Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 1013-1024, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Hochguertel, Stefan & Ohlsson, Henry, 2011. "Wealth mobility and dynamics over entire individual working life cycles," Working Paper Series 1301, European Central Bank.
    2. Hochguertel, Stefan & Ohlsson, Henry, 2012. "Who is at the top? Wealth mobility over the life cycle," Working Paper Series 2012:1, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    3. Hugh Rockoff, 2008. "Great Fortunes of the Gilded Age," NBER Working Papers 14555, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item


    Mobility; Wealth; Panel data; Statistical matching; Comparison U.S. - Sweden;

    JEL classification:

    • C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution


    Access and download statistics


    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:hhs:uunewp:2000_018. 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: (Katarina Grönvall). General contact details of provider: .

    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.