SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance
Wealth Concentration over the Path of Development: Sweden 1873–2005
() and Daniel Waldenström
Abstract: We study the development of wealth concentration in Sweden
over 130 years, from the begin-ning of industrialization until present day.
Our series are based on a wide array of new evi-dence from estate- and
wealth tax data, estimates of foreign and domestic family firm-wealth and
of pension and social security wealth. We find that the Swedish wealth
concentration was at a historically high level in the agrarian state and
that it did not change much during early in-dustrialization. From World War
I up until about 1950, the richest percentile lost ground to the rest of
the top wealth decile where relatively income rich households accumulated
new wealth. In the postwar period, the entire top decile lost out relative
to the rest of the population, much due to the spread of owner-occupied
housing. Around 1980, wealth compression stopped and inequality increased.
We introduce new ways of approximating the effects of international flows
and find that the recent increase in Swedish wealth inequality is likely to
be larger than what official estimates suggest.
Keywords: Wealth concentration; Wealth distribution; Inequality; Income distribution; Sweden; Welfare state; Pension wealth; Augmented wealth; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: D14; D31; N33; N34; (follow links to similar papers)
38 pages, October 15, 2007
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