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Recent trends in the size and the distribution of inherited wealth in the UK

Karagiannaki, Eleni (2015) Recent trends in the size and the distribution of inherited wealth in the UK. Fiscal Studies, 36 (2). pp. 181-213. ISSN 0143-5671

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1475-5890.12050


In this paper we use HMRC estate statistics and micro-data from four UK household surveys to examine changes in the size, the composition and the distribution of inherited wealth in the UK over the period 1985-2010. Our findings indicate that the period under examination is characterised by a substantial increase in the flow of inheritance. This increase, which was particularly marked in the early 2000s, was mainly driven by the rise in house prices and to a lesser extent by the increase in the proportion of inheritances which included housing assets. The distribution of inheritance amongst recipients became more unequal over this period. However, the inequality-increasing effect from the greater dispersion in the distribution of inheritance was counterbalanced by the increase in the percentage of the population who received an inheritance, resulting in a small decrease in the inequality of inheritance for the population overall. Analysis of the distribution of inheritance by socio-economic status suggests a positive association between inheritance and socio-economic status with some suggestive evidence that this association might have strengthened over time. Overall, however, the value of inheritance for most people is rather small and the differences across groups rather moderate.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 Institute for Fiscal Studies
Divisions: STICERD
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D3 - Distribution > D31 - Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2014 14:23
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 02:00

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