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The changing distribution of wealth in the pre-crisis US and UK: the role of socio-economic factors

Cowell, Frank, Karagiannaki, Eleni and McKnight, Abigail (2019) The changing distribution of wealth in the pre-crisis US and UK: the role of socio-economic factors. Oxford Economic Papers, 71 (1). pp. 1-24. ISSN 0030-7653

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Identification Number: 10.1093/oep/gpy047


The USA and the UK experienced substantial increases in net wealth in the decade that preceded the financial crisis, largely driven by house-price booms in each country. The distribution of these gains across households led to a slight increase in wealth inequality in the USA but a substantial fall in inequality in the UK. We use a decomposition technique to examine the extent to which changes in households' socioeconomic characteristics explain changes in wealth holdings and wealth inequality. In both countries we find that changes in household characteristics had an equalizing effect on wealth inequality, moderating the increase in the USA and accounting for over one-third of the fall in UK wealth inequality.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 Oxford University Press
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
JEL classification: C - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods > C8 - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs > C81 - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data
D - Microeconomics > D3 - Distribution > D31 - Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
D - Microeconomics > D6 - Welfare Economics > D63 - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I3 - Welfare and Poverty > I31 - General Welfare; Basic Needs; Living Standards; Quality of Life; Happiness
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2018 09:58
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 23:19
Projects: ES/L016273/1
Funders: European Union Framework Programme 7 Growing Inequalities’ Impacts, Economic and Social Research Council

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