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Asset prices and wealth inequality

VOX – CEPR Policy Portal, 09 August 2018, by Moritz Kuhn, Moritz Schularick, Ulrike Steins.

“Recent work examining the evolution of the wealth distribution has tended to not paid much attention to the role of asset prices. This column uses a new US dataset to explore the role that asset price movements have in the US wealth distribution. Asset prices matter because portfolio composition differs systematically along the wealth distribution. The data further show that no progress has been made in reducing wealth inequalities between white and black households over the past 70 years”. “[…]”

We live in unequal times. The causes and consequences of widening disparities in income and wealth have become a defining debate of our age. Recent studies have made major inroads into documenting trends in either income or wealth inequality in the US (Piketty and Saez 2003, Kopczuk et al. 2010, Saez and Zucman 2016), but we still know little about how the joint distribution of income and wealth evolved over the long run. “[…]”

In a new paper, we exploit a unique new dataset that allows us to track the joint distributions of income and wealth in the US since 1949 (Kuhn et al. 2018). The dataset builds on household-level information that spans the entire US population over seven decades of post-war American history. “[…]”


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