IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/inq/inqwps/ecineq2019-506.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The distribution of wealth in the U.S. and Spain: the role of socio-economic factors

Author

Listed:
  • Pedro Salas-Rojo

    (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain)

  • Juan Gabriel Rodríguez

    (Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain)

Abstract

The literature has typically found that socio-economic factors (age, education, income, labor status, household structure) are irrelevant to explain the large cross-country disparities in wealth. As a result, institutions and other unobserved factors have received all the credit. Here, we propose to focus on one type of wealth inequality, the part of overall wealth inequality that is explained by parental background and inheritances (inequality of opportunity -IO- in wealth). By means of a counterfactual decomposition method (DiNardo et al., 1996), we show that imposing the distribution of socio-economic factors in the U.S. (2016) into Spain (2014) has little effect on overall wealth inequality. However, socio-economic factors play an important role when wealth IO is considered. Moreover, the Shapley decomposition shows that the distribution of age, education and income in the U.S. contribute to increase wealth IO in the counterfactual, whereas the opposite happens with the distribution of labor status and household structure. These results are robust to different types of wealth (total, financial or real state), inequality indices (MLD or Gini coefficient), IO measures (absolute or relative) and samples (total or above 55 years).

Suggested Citation

  • Pedro Salas-Rojo & Juan Gabriel Rodríguez, 2019. "The distribution of wealth in the U.S. and Spain: the role of socio-economic factors," Working Papers 506, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  • Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2019-506
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.ecineq.org/milano/WP/ECINEQ2019-506.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Edward Wolff & Maury Gittleman, 2014. "Inheritances and the distribution of wealth or whatever happened to the great inheritance boom?," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 12(4), pages 439-468, December.
    2. Shorrocks, A F, 1980. "The Class of Additively Decomposable Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 613-625, April.
    3. Vincenzo Carrieri & Andrew M. Jones, 2018. "Inequality of opportunity in health: A decomposition‐based approach," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(12), pages 1981-1995, December.
    4. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-1044, September.
    5. Juan C. Palomino & Gustavo A. Marrero & Juan G. Rodríguez, 2019. "Channels of Inequality of Opportunity: The Role of Education and Occupation in Europe," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 143(3), pages 1045-1074, June.
    6. Frank A. Cowell, 1980. "On the Structure of Additive Inequality Measures," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(3), pages 521-531.
    7. David H. Autor, 2019. "Work of the Past, Work of the Future," AEA Papers and Proceedings, American Economic Association, vol. 109, pages 1-32, May.
    8. Daniele Checchi & Vito Peragine, 2010. "Inequality of opportunity in Italy," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 8(4), pages 429-450, December.
    9. Dimitris Christelis & Dimitris Georgarakos & Michael Haliassos, 2013. "Differences in Portfolios across Countries: Economic Environment versus Household Characteristics," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(1), pages 220-236, March.
    10. repec:dau:papers:123456789/1552 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 2014. "Finance and the Preservation of Wealth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(3), pages 1221-1254.
    12. Judith Niehues & Andreas Peichl, 2014. "Upper bounds of inequality of opportunity: theory and evidence for Germany and the US," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 43(1), pages 73-99, June.
    13. Cristian Badarinza & John Y. Campbell & Tarun Ramadorai, 2016. "International Comparative Household Finance," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 8(1), pages 111-144, October.
    14. Paolo Brunori & Paul Hufe & Daniel Gerszon Mahler, 2017. "The Roots of Inequality: Estimating Inequality of Opportunity from Regression Trees," Working Papers - Economics wp2017_18.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
    15. Maurizio Bussolo & Daniele Checchi & Vito Peragine, 2018. "The long term evolution of inequality of opportunity," LIS Working papers 730, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    16. Fortin, Nicole & Lemieux, Thomas & Firpo, Sergio, 2011. "Decomposition Methods in Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 1, pages 1-102, Elsevier.
    17. Anders Björklund & Markus Jäntti & John Roemer, 2012. "Equality of opportunity and the distribution of long-run income in Sweden," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 39(2), pages 675-696, July.
    18. François Bourguignon & Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Marta Menéndez, 2007. "Inequality Of Opportunity In Brazil," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(4), pages 585-618, December.
    19. Carlos Grad�n & Coral Del R�o & Olga Alonso-Villar, 2015. "Occupational Segregation by Race and Ethnicity in the United States: Differences Across States," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(10), pages 1621-1638, October.
    20. Fleurbaey, Marc, 2012. "Fairness, Responsibility, and Welfare," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199653591.
    21. Alain Trannoy & Sandy Tubeuf & Florence Jusot & Marion Devaux, 2010. "Inequality of opportunities in health in France: a first pass," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(8), pages 921-938, August.
    22. Eva Sierminska & Karina Doorley, 2018. "To own or not to own? Household portfolios, demographics and institutions in a cross-national perspective," Journal of Income Distribution, Ad libros publications inc., vol. 26(1), pages 1-43, March.
    23. Mercedes Sastre & Alain Trannoy, 2002. "Shapley inequality decomposition by factor components: Some methodological issues," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 51-89, December.
    24. Sierminska, Eva & Frick, Joachim R. & Grabka, Markus M., 2008. "Examining the Gender Wealth Gap in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 3573, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    25. Frédéric Chantreuil & Alain Trannoy, 2013. "Inequality decomposition values: the trade-off between marginality and efficiency," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 11(1), pages 83-98, March.
    26. Arnaud Lefranc & Nicolas Pistolesi & Alain Trannoy, 2008. "Inequality Of Opportunities Vs. Inequality Of Outcomes: Are Western Societies All Alike?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 54(4), pages 513-546, December.
    27. Anthony Shorrocks, 2013. "Decomposition procedures for distributional analysis: a unified framework based on the Shapley value," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 11(1), pages 99-126, March.
    28. Lefranc, Arnaud & Pistolesi, Nicolas & Trannoy, Alain, 2009. "Equality of opportunity and luck: Definitions and testable conditions, with an application to income in France," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1189-1207, December.
    29. Olympia Bover, 2010. "Wealth Inequality And Household Structure: U.S. Vs. Spain," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 56(2), pages 259-290, June.
    30. Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Ross Levine, 2009. "Finance and Inequality: Theory and Evidence," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 287-318, November.
    31. Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Jérémie Gignoux, 2011. "The Measurement Of Inequality Of Opportunity: Theory And An Application To Latin America," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 57(4), pages 622-657, December.
    32. Francisco Azpitarte, 2012. "Measuring Poverty Using Both Income And Wealth: A Cross‐Country Comparison Between The U.S. And Spain," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 58(1), pages 24-50, March.
    33. Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Jérémie Gignoux, 2011. "The Measurement of Inequality of Inequality of Opportunity: Theory and an Application to Latin America," PSE-Ecole d'économie de Paris (Postprint) halshs-00754503, HAL.
    34. Song, Yang & Zhou, Guangsu, 2019. "Inequality of opportunity and household education expenditures: Evidence from panel data in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 85-98.
    35. Bourguignon, Francois, 1979. "Decomposable Income Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 901-920, July.
    36. Elena Crivellaro, 2016. "The College Wage Premium over Time: Trends in Europe in the Last 15 Years☆," Research in Labor Economics, in: Inequality: Causes and Consequences, volume 43, pages 287-328, Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
    37. Elena Crivellaro, 2014. "College wage premium over time: trends in Europe in the last 15 years," Working Papers 2014:03, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    38. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    39. repec:dau:papers:123456789/268 is not listed on IDEAS
    40. repec:dau:papers:123456789/12516 is not listed on IDEAS
    41. Damien Bricard & Florence Jusot & Alain Trannoy & Sandy Tubeuf, 2013. "Inequality of Opportunities in Health and the Principle of Natural Reward: Evidence from European Countries," Research on Economic Inequality, in: Health and Inequality, volume 21, pages 335-370, Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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


    Cited by:

    1. Juan C Palomino & Gustavo A Marrero & Brian Nolan & Juan G Rodríguez, 2022. "Wealth inequality, intergenerational transfers, and family background [Intergenerational wealth mobility and the role of inheritance: Evidence from multiple generations]," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 643-670.

    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. Pedro Salas-Rojo & Juan Gabriel Rodríguez, 2021. "The distribution of wealth in Spain and the USA: the role of socioeconomic factors," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 389-421, September.
    2. John E. Roemer & Alain Trannoy, 2016. "Equality of Opportunity: Theory and Measurement," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1288-1332, December.
    3. Davillas, Apostolos & Jones, Andrew M, 2020. "Ex ante inequality of opportunity in health, decomposition and distributional analysis of biomarkers," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    4. Leopoldo Cabrera & Gustavo A. Marrero & Juan Gabriel Rodríguez & Pedro Salas-Rojo, 2021. "Inequality of Opportunity in Spain: New Insights from New Data," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 237(2), pages 153-185, June.
    5. Chen, Xi & Yan, Binjian & Gill, Thomas M., 2020. "Childhood Circumstances and Health Inequality in Old Age: Comparative Evidence from China and the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 13460, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Juan C. Palomino & Gustavo A. Marrero & Juan G. Rodríguez, 2019. "Channels of Inequality of Opportunity: The Role of Education and Occupation in Europe," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 143(3), pages 1045-1074, June.
    7. Xi Chen & Binjian Yan & Thomas M. Gill, 2022. "Childhood Circumstances and Health Inequality in Old Age: Comparative Evidence from China and the USA," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 160(2), pages 689-716, April.
    8. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Peragine, Vito, 2015. "Equality of Opportunity: Theory and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 8994, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Vincenzo Carrieri & Apostolos Davillas & Andrew M. Jones, 2023. "Equality of opportunity and the expansion of higher education in the UK," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 69(4), pages 861-885, December.
    10. Ana Suárez Álvarez & Ana Jesús López Menéndez, 2018. "Assessing Changes Over Time in Inequality of Opportunity: The Case of Spain," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 139(3), pages 989-1014, October.
    11. Paolo Li Donni & Vito Peragine & Giuseppe Pignataro, 2014. "Ex‐Ante And Ex‐Post Measurement Of Equality Of Opportunity In Health: A Normative Decomposition," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(2), pages 182-198, February.
    12. ANDREOLI Francesco & HAVNES Tarjei & LEFRANC Arnaud, 2014. "Equalization of opportunity: Definitions, implementable conditions and application to early-childhood policy evaluation," LISER Working Paper Series 2014-12, Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER).
    13. X. Ramos & D. Van De Gaer, 2012. "Empirical Approaches to Inequality of Opportunity: Principles, Measures, and Evidence," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 12/792, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    14. Xavier Ramos & Dirk Van de gaer, 2012. "Empirical approaches to inequality of opportunity: Principles, measures, and evidence," Working Papers 259, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    15. Pedro Salas-Rojo & Juan Gabriel Rodríguez, 2022. "Inheritances and wealth inequality: a machine learning approach," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 20(1), pages 27-51, March.
    16. Marrero,Gustavo Alberto & Rodríguez,Juan Gabriel & Van Der Weide,Roy, 2021. "Does Race and Gender Inequality Impact Income Growth ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9865, The World Bank.
    17. repec:dau:papers:123456789/13753 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Florence Jusot & Sabine Mage & Marta Menendez, 2014. "Inequality of Opportunity in Health in Indonesia," Working Papers DT/2014/06, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    19. Niehues, Judith & Peichl, Andreas, 2011. "Lower and Upper Bounds of Unfair Inequality: Theory and Evidence for Germany and the US," IZA Discussion Papers 5834, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. Judith Niehues & Andreas Peichl, 2012. "Bounds of Unfair Inequality of Opportunity: Theory and Evidence for Germany and the US," CESifo Working Paper Series 3815, CESifo.
    21. Aitor Calo-Blanco & J. García-Pérez, 2014. "On the welfare loss caused by inequality of opportunity," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 12(2), pages 221-237, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    wealth inequality; socio-economic factors; inequality of opportunity in wealth; United States; Spain.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

    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:inq:inqwps:ecineq2019-506. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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: Maria Ana Lugo (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/ecineea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.