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Wealth, Top Incomes and Inequality

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  • Frank Cowell

    ()

  • Brian Nolan

    ()

  • Javier Olivera

    ()

  • Philippe Van Kerm

    ()

Abstract

Although it is heartening to see wealth inequality being taken seriously, key concepts are often muddled, including the distinction between income and wealth, what is included in "wealth", and facts about wealth distributions. This chapter highlights issues that arise in making ideas and facts about wealth inequality precise, and employs newly-available data to take a fresh look at wealth and wealth inequality in a comparative perspective. The composition of wealth is similar across countries, with housing wealth being the key asset. Wealth is considerably more unequally distributed than income, and it is distinctively so in the United States. Extending definitions to include pension wealth however reduces inequality substantially. Analysis also sheds light on life-cycle patterns and the role of inheritance. Discussion of the joint distributions of income and wealth suggests that interactions between increasing top income shares and the concentration of wealth and income from wealth towards the top is critical.

Suggested Citation

  • Frank Cowell & Brian Nolan & Javier Olivera & Philippe Van Kerm, 2017. "Wealth, Top Incomes and Inequality," LWS Working papers 24, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
  • Handle: RePEc:lis:lwswps:24
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    File URL: http://www.lisdatacenter.org/wps/lwswps/24.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Wealth, Top Incomes and Inequality
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2018-04-09 18:40:20

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    Cited by:

    1. James B. Davies & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 2017. "Wealth inequality: Theory, measurement and decomposition," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1224-1261, December.
    2. Anastasios Evgenidis & Apostolos Fasianos, 2019. "Monetary Policy and Wealth Inequalities in Great Britain: Assessing the role of unconventional policies for a decade of household data," Papers 1912.09702, arXiv.org.
    3. Olivera, Javier, 2019. "The distribution of pension wealth in Europe," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 13(C), pages 30-42.
    4. Bönke, Timm & Grabka, Markus M. & Schröder, Carsten & Wolff, Edward N., 2020. "A Head-to-Head Comparison of Augmented Wealth in Germany and the United States," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 1140-1180.
    5. Bernal, Noelia & Olivera, Javier, 2020. "Choice of pension management fees and effects on pension wealth," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 539-568.
    6. Sarah Kuypers & Francesco Figari & Gerlinde Verbist, 2020. "An assessment of wealth taxes in a joint income-wealth perspective," Working Papers 2006, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    7. Jo Blanden & Andrew Eyles & Stephen Machin, 2021. "Trends in Intergenerational Home Ownership and Wealth Transmission," CEPEO Working Paper Series 21-05, Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities, UCL Institute of Education, revised May 2021.
    8. , Stone Center & Nolan, Brian & Palomino, Juan & Van Kerm, Philippe & Morelli, Salvatore, 2020. "Intergenerational Transfers by Size and Wealth Inequality in Rich Countries," SocArXiv eyh8s, Center for Open Science.
    9. Sarah Kuypers & Ive Marx, 2019. "The Truly Vulnerable: Integrating Wealth into the Measurement of Poverty and Social Policy Effectiveness," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 142(1), pages 131-147, February.
    10. Jing You & Miguel Niño-Zarazúa, 2017. "Smoothing or strengthening the ‘Great Gatsby Curve’? The intergenerational impact of China’s New Rural Pension Scheme," WIDER Working Paper Series 199, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    11. Jing You & Miguel Niño-Zarazúa, 2017. "Smoothing or strengthening the 'Great Gatsby curve'?: The intergenerational impact of China's New Rural Pension Scheme," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2017-199, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    12. Ursina Kuhn, 2020. "Augmented wealth in Switzerland: the influence of pension wealth on wealth inequality," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics, Springer;Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics, vol. 156(1), pages 1-16, December.
    13. Stefan Humer & Mathias Moser & Matthias Schnetzer, 2017. "Inheritances and the Accumulation of Wealth in the Eurozone," ICAE Working Papers 73, Johannes Kepler University, Institute for Comprehensive Analysis of the Economy.
    14. Salvatore Morelli, 2020. "The Dynamics of Wealth Concentration: Thoughts on Tony Atkinson’s Contributions," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 6(1), pages 197-205, March.
    15. Jing You & Miguel Niño‐Zarazúa, 2019. "The Intergenerational Impact of China's New Rural Pension Scheme," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 45(S1), pages 47-95, December.

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    Keywords

    Inequality; Wealth; Income; Households; Inheritance; Top Incomes; Cross national; comparative;
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