Global Wealth Inequality

45 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2019

See all articles by Gabriel Zucman

Gabriel Zucman

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2019

Abstract

This article reviews the recent literature on the dynamics of global wealth inequality. I first reconcile available estimates of wealth inequality in the United States. Both surveys and tax data show that wealth inequality has increased dramatically since the 1980s, with a top 1% wealth share around 40% in 2016 vs. 25–30% in the 1980s. Second, I discuss the fast growing literature on wealth inequality across the world. Evidence points towards a rise in global wealth concentration: for China, Europe, and the United States combined, the top 1% wealth share has increased from 28% in 1980 to 33% today, while the bottom 75% share hovered around 10%. Recent studies, however, may under-estimate the level and rise of inequality, as financial globalization makes it increasingly hard to measure wealth at the top. I discuss how new data sources (leaks from financial institutions, tax amnesties, and macroeconomic statistics of tax havens) can be leveraged to better capture the wealth of the rich.

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Suggested Citation

Zucman, Gabriel, Global Wealth Inequality (January 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w25462. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3319688

Gabriel Zucman (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

579 Evans Hall
Berkeley, CA 94709
United States

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