»Die Vermögensverteilung in europäischen Ländern ist ungleicher als angenommen« | Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik


»Die Vermögensverteilung in europäischen Ländern ist ungleicher als angenommen«

DIW-Studie, 23.1.2018 (engl. Originalfassung)

Rising inequality in income and wealth is increasingly gaining attention, in both the public debates and academic research. The widespread discussion following the publication of Piketty’s (2014) book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, focuses on concentration at the top and the underlying trends in modern capitalism. Economists, policy makers  and  financial  analysts  are  aware  of  increasing  heterogeneity  in  income  and wealth,  along with the consequences for financial stability,  savings and investment, employment, growth, and social cohesion.  Against the backdrop of tax policy trends to reduce progressivity and high budget deficits following the 2008 financial crisis, tax increases on high capital income and top wealth were endorsed, if not implemented, in many countries Proper information on the distribution of capital income and wealth, in particular at the top, is increasingly necessary.  However, we still lack precise information about wealth concentration on the very end of the distribution.

This study aims to shed light on the top wealth distribution in Germany, France, and Spain.  We integrate household survey data and rich lists of the big fortunes, estimate a Pareto distribution, and impute the missing rich. (...)

We find that the top percentile share of household wealth in Germany jumps up from 24 percent based on the original HFCS (Eurosystem’s Household Finance and Consumption Survey) to 31 percent and 24 to 33 percent due to the top wealth imputation in the first and the second wave, respectively.

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