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Handbook of Income Distribution by Francois Bourguignon, Anthony B. Atkinson

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Chapter 15

Wealth and Inheritance in the Long Run

Thomas Piketty*; Gabriel Zucman    * Paris School of Economics, Paris, France London School of Economics, London, UK

Abstract

This chapter offers an overview of the empirical and theoretical research on the long-run evolution of wealth and inheritance. Wealth–income ratios, inherited wealth, and wealth inequalities were high in the eighteenth to nineteenth centuries up until World War I, then sharply dropped during the twentieth century following World War shocks, and have been rising again in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. We discuss the models that can account for these facts. We show that over a wide range of models, the long-run magnitude and concentration of wealth ...

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