On the Share of Inheritance in Aggregate Wealth: Europe and the USA, 1900–2010

22 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2017

See all articles by Facundo Alvaredo

Facundo Alvaredo

Ecole Normale Superieure (PSE-ENS)

Bertrand Garbinti

Banque de France

Thomas Piketty

National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) - Centre d'Etudes Prospectives d'Economie Mathematique Appliquees a la Planification (CEPREMAP); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: April 2017

Abstract

This paper provides historical series on the evolution of the share of inherited wealth in aggregate private wealth in Europe (France, the UK, Germany, Sweden) and the USA over the 1900–2010 period. Until 1910, the inheritance share was very high in Europe (70–80%). It then fell abruptly following the 1914–45 shocks, down to about 30–40% during the 1950–80 period, and is back to 50–60% (and rising) since around 2010. The US pattern also appears to be U‐shaped, albeit less marked, and with significant uncertainty regarding recent trends, due to data limitations. We discuss possible interpretations for these long‐run patterns.

Suggested Citation

Alvaredo, Facundo and Garbinti, Bertrand and Piketty, Thomas, On the Share of Inheritance in Aggregate Wealth: Europe and the USA, 1900–2010 (April 2017). Economica, Vol. 84, Issue 334, pp. 239-260, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2941851 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecca.12233

Facundo Alvaredo (Contact Author)

Ecole Normale Superieure (PSE-ENS) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
75014 Paris
France

Bertrand Garbinti

Banque de France ( email )

Paris
France

Thomas Piketty

National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) - Centre d'Etudes Prospectives d'Economie Mathematique Appliquees a la Planification (CEPREMAP) ( email )

Ecole Normale Superieure
48 boulevard Jourdan
75014 Paris
France
+33 1 4313 6250 (Phone)
+33 1 4313 6259 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://pythie.cepremap.ens.fr/~piketty/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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