An Examination of Changes in the Distribution of Wealth from 1989 to 1998: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances

Jerome Levy Economics Institute Working Paper No. 307

28 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2000

See all articles by Arthur B. Kennickell

Arthur B. Kennickell

Federal Reserve Board - Department of Research & Statistics

Date Written: July 2000

Abstract

This paper considers the distribution of wealth in the period from 1989 to 1998 as an indicator of the economic condition of households. It examines changes in the distribution of wealth over that period, mostly using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). Some of the SCF data used here have previously been studied by Weicher (1996), Wolff (1996), and Kennickell and Woodburn (1992 and 1999). As background, the paper also uses some estimates published by Forbes magazine on the 400 wealthiest people in the United States. The first section of the paper briefly discusses the data. The next section uses the Forbes data to characterize changes at the very top of the wealth distribution. The third section presents a variety of estimates of wealth changes for the population below the AForbes 400" level using SCF data. The fourth section examines the sensitivity of the SCF estimates to a variety of assumptions about systematic mismeasurement in the data. The final section summarizes the findings of the paper.

Suggested Citation

Kennickell, Arthur B., An Examination of Changes in the Distribution of Wealth from 1989 to 1998: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances (July 2000). Jerome Levy Economics Institute Working Paper No. 307. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=242757 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.242757

Arthur B. Kennickell (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Board - Department of Research & Statistics ( email )

20th & C. St., N.W.
Washington, DC 20551
United States
202-452-2247 (Phone)
202-452-5295 (Fax)

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