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Wealth, Top Incomes and Inequality

Author

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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. OLIVERA Javier, 2018. "The distribution of pension wealth in Europe," LISER Working Paper Series 2018-10, LISER.
    2. Timm Bönke & Markus Grabka & Carsten Schröder & Edward N. Wolff, 2017. "A Head-to-Head Comparison of Augmented Wealth in Germany and the United States," NBER Working Papers 23244, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. 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).
    4. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

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