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The Challenge of Measuring UK Wealth Inequality in the 2000s

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Abstract

The concentration of personal wealth is now receiving a great deal of attention – after having been neglected for many years. One reason is the growing recognition that, in seeking explanations for rising income inequality, we need to look not only at wages and earned income but also at income from capital, particularly at the top of the distribution. In this paper, we use evidence from existing data sources to attempt to answer three questions: (i) what is the share of total personal wealth that is owned by the top 1 per cent, or the top 0.1 per cent? (ii) is wealth much more unequally distributed than income? (iii) is the concentration of wealth at the top increasing over time? The main conclusion of the paper is that the evidence about the UK concentration of wealth post-2000 is seriously incomplete and significant investment is necessary if we are to provide satisfactory answers to the three questions.

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  • Facundo Alvaredo & Anthony B. Atkinson & Salvatore Morelli, 2015. "The Challenge of Measuring UK Wealth Inequality in the 2000s," CSEF Working Papers 411, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:411
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    1. Wojciech Kopczuk, 2014. "What Do We Know About Evolution of Top Wealth Shares in the United States?," NBER Working Papers 20734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. anonymous, 1979. "Monetary policy report to Congress," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Aug, pages 591-602.
    3. Wojciech Kopczuk, 2012. "Taxation of Intergenerational Transfers and Wealth," NBER Working Papers 18584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Unknown, 1979. "Annual Report on Tobacco Statistics, 1978," Statistical Bulletin 154338, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    5. Saez, Emmanuel & Zucman, Gabriel, 2014. "Wealth Inequality in the United States since 1913: Evidence from Capitalized Income Tax Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 10227, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Kopczuk, Wojciech & Saez, Emmanuel, 2004. "Top Wealth Shares in the United States, 1916-2000: Evidence From Estate Tax Returns," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 57(2), pages 445-487, June.
    7. Wojciech Kopczuk, 2015. "What Do We Know about the Evolution of Top Wealth Shares in the United States?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 29(1), pages 47-66, Winter.
    8. Atkinson, A B & Harrison, A J, 1974. "Wealth Distribution and Investment Income in Britain," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 20(2), pages 125-142, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:oup:oxecpp:v:69:y:2017:i:4:p:1101-1119. is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:bla:revinw:v:63:y:2017:i:4:p:731-759 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Alvaredo, Facundo & Atkinson, Anthony B. & Morelli, Salvatore, 2018. "Top wealth shares in the UK over more than a century," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 26-47.
    4. Nora Lustig, 2018. "Measuring the Distribution of Household Income, Consumption and Wealth: State of Play and Measurement Challenges," Working Papers 1801, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    5. Poterba, James & Venti, Steven & Wise, David A., 2018. "Longitudinal determinants of end-of-life wealth inequality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 78-88.
    6. Facundo Alvaredo & Lucas Chancel & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman, 2017. "Global Inequality Dynamics: New Findings from WID.world," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 404-409, May.
    7. repec:sls:ipmsls:v:32:y:2017:3 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

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