The Evolution of Wealth-Income Ratios in India 1860-2012

37 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2018 Last revised: 5 Oct 2018

See all articles by Rishabh Kumar

Rishabh Kumar

California State University, San Bernardino

Date Written: September 28, 2018


This article is about the metamorphoses of aggregate Indian wealth over fifteen politically transformative decades. Based on a comprehensive new database, I find that wealth-income ratios have fluctuated tremendously in the twentieth century. In emerging India of the twenty first century, wealth is quickly attaining the same disproportionate size (relative to national income) that was seen during economic downturns in interwar colonial India. The long run U shaped trajectories of wealth-income ratios are reasonably explained by a mid century asset price slowdown and the return of high land shares in national wealth. Implications for balanced growth models are not too sanguine because rising wealth-income ratios have become visible in most large economies, irrespective of their stage of capitalist development.

Keywords: Wealth-Income Ratio, India, Growth

JEL Classification: E10, D30, D31

Suggested Citation

Kumar, Rishabh, The Evolution of Wealth-Income Ratios in India 1860-2012 (September 28, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Rishabh Kumar (Contact Author)

California State University, San Bernardino ( email )

5500 University Parkway
San Bernardino, CA 92407
United States


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