Looking for the Missing Rich: Tracing the Top Tail of the Wealth Distribution

53 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2018

See all articles by Stefan Bach

Stefan Bach

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Andreas Thiemann

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Aline Zucco

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg-Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen Nürnberg

Date Written: January 23, 2018

Abstract

We analyze the top tail of the wealth distribution in Germany, France, and Spain based on the first and second wave of the Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS). Since top wealth is likely to be underrepresented in household surveys, we integrate big fortunes from rich lists, estimate a Pareto distribution, and impute the missing rich. In addition to the Forbes list, we rely on national rich lists since they represent a broader base for the big fortunes in those countries. As a result, the top percentile share of household wealth in Germany jumps up from 24 percent to 31 percent in the first and from 24 to 33 percent in the second wave after top wealth imputation. For France and Spain, we find only a small effect of the imputation since rich households are better captured in the survey.

Keywords: Wealth distribution, missing rich, Pareto distribution, HFCS

JEL Classification: D31, C46, C81

Suggested Citation

Bach, Stefan and Thiemann, Andreas and Zucco, Aline, Looking for the Missing Rich: Tracing the Top Tail of the Wealth Distribution (January 23, 2018). DIW Berlin Discussion Paper No. 1717, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3113153 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3113153

Stefan Bach (Contact Author)

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

Andreas Thiemann

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

Aline Zucco

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg-Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen Nürnberg ( email )

Schloßplatz 4
Erlangen, DE Bavaria 91054
Germany

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
44
Abstract Views
521
PlumX Metrics