Pourquoi la richesse ne s'est-elle pas diffusée avec la croissance ? Le degré zéro de l'inégalité et son évolution en France : 1800-1940
This paper private individual wealth in France and its distribution during the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries based on individual data of bequests collected from all over France. We focus on the distinction between thos who died rich (with an estate) and those who left nothing behind. Over the entire period, about 60 percent of the adults who died left a positive estate, but this proportion decreased over time. We suggest that this downward trend in asset ownership cannot only be explained by a simple compositional effect due to urbanization and/or industrialization. In addition to these phenomena, longer life expectancy also induced changes in life-cycle patterns with the need to finance parents'older years at the expense of bequests to children. These changes were amplified by the diffusion of pension schemes and life insurance plans.
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