Hidden Wealth

44 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2019

See all articles by Neil Cummins

Neil Cummins

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economic History

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 23, 2019


Sharp declines in wealth-concentration occurred across Europe and the US during the 20th century. But this stylized fact is based on declared wealth. It is possible that today the richest are not less rich but rather that they are hiding much of their wealth. This paper proposes a method to measure this hidden wealth, in any form. In England, 1920-1992, elites are concealing 20-32% of their wealth. Among dynasties, hidden wealth, independent of declared wealth, predicts appearance in the Offshore Leaks Database of 2013-6, house values in 1999, and Oxbridge attendance, 1990-2016. Accounting for hidden wealth eliminates one-third of the observed decline of top 10% wealth-share over the past century.

Keywords: hidden wealth; inequality; economic history; big data; tax evasion

JEL Classification: N00, N33, N34, D31, H26

Suggested Citation

Cummins, Neil, Hidden Wealth (September 23, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3470253 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3470253

Neil Cummins (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economic History ( email )

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