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Estimating the distribution of household wealth in South Africa

Author

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  • Aroop Chatterjee
  • Léo Czajka
  • Amory Gethin

Abstract

This paper estimates the distribution of personal wealth in South Africa by combining tax microdata, household surveys, and macroeconomic balance sheet statistics. We systematically compare estimates of the wealth distribution obtained by direct measurement of net worth, rescaling of reported wealth to balance sheet totals, and capitalization of income flows. We document major inconsistencies between available data sources, in particular regarding the measurement of dividends, corporate assets, and wealth held through trusts.

Suggested Citation

  • Aroop Chatterjee & Léo Czajka & Amory Gethin, 2020. "Estimating the distribution of household wealth in South Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2020-45, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp-2020-45
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Bertrand Garbinti & Jonathan Goupille-Lebret & Thomas Piketty, 2021. "Accounting for Wealth-Inequality Dynamics: Methods, Estimates, and Simulations for France," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 620-663.
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    16. EdwardN. Wolff, 1989. "Trends In Aggregate Household Wealth In The Us., 1900–83," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 35(1), pages 1-29, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Amory Gethin, 2020. "Extreme Inequality and the Structure of Political Cleavages in South Africa, 1994-2019," World Inequality Lab Working Papers halshs-03022282, HAL.
    2. Ihsaan Bassier & Ingrid Woolard, 2021. "Exclusive Growth? Rapidly Increasing Top Incomes Amid Low National Growth in South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 89(2), pages 246-273, June.
    3. Aroop Chatterjee & Léo Czajka & Amory Gethin, 2021. "A Wealth Tax for South Africa," World Inequality Lab Working Papers halshs-03131182, HAL.
    4. David Francis & Imraan Valodia & Edward Webster, 2020. "Politics, Policy, and Inequality in South Africa Under COVID-19," Agrarian South: Journal of Political Economy, Centre for Agrarian Research and Education for South, vol. 9(3), pages 342-355, December.
    5. Bassier, Ihsaan & Budlender, Joshua & Zizzamia, Rocco & Leibbrandt, Murray & Ranchhod, Vimal, 2021. "Locked down and locked out: Repurposing social assistance as emergency relief to informal workers," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 139(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Administrative data; Households balance sheets; income capitalization; Micro-macro gap; National accounts; Wealth distribution; Wealth surveys; capital incomes;
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