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The concentration of personal wealth in Italy 1995-2016

Acciari, Paolo, Alvaredo, Facundo and Morelli, Salvatore (2024) The concentration of personal wealth in Italy 1995-2016. Journal of the European Economic Association, 22 (3). 1228 - 1274. ISSN 1542-4766

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Identification Number: 10.1093/jeea/jvae002


We estimate the distribution of wealth in Italy between 1995 and 2016 using a novel source of inheritance tax files, combined with surveys and national accounts. We find that the level of wealth concentration is in line with other European countries; however, its time trend appears more in line with the US, showing a significant increase over the period studied. The country exhibits one of the greatest declines in the wealth share of the bottom 50%. The paper also shows that age plays a marginal role in explaining wealth concentration. Changes in savings, instead, are the predominant force behind the increase in wealth inequality, even at the top. Equity prices also account for a large share of wealth growth above the 99th percentile, whereas changes in house prices play only a minor role. Finally, we document the growing concentration of life-time wealth transfers, and their increasingly favorable tax treatment.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author(s)
Divisions: International Inequalities Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D3 - Distribution > D30 - General
G - Financial Economics > G0 - General > G00 - General
H - Public Economics > H2 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue > H24 - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
N - Economic History > N3 - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income, and Wealth > N30 - Economic History: Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Income and Wealth: General, International, or Comparative (Migration)
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2024 16:03
Last Modified: 15 Jul 2024 21:54

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