RES: The "law" of wealth concentration

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Thu Aug 17 15:47:45 PDT 2000

Alexandre Fenelon wrote:

>What about inheritance, which is responsible for 50-75% of the wealth
>distribution in the U.S.?
>This is very interesting, Doug. Do you have the ratings for European
>and Asian countries? And what about inheritance taxes in industrialized

No idea. When I was doing the research for Wall Street, I read the rather small literature on estimating the effects of inheritance on wealth distribution. It's extremely hard to get data, since, as they say, paying estate taxes is almost voluntary. As I recall - it's been a few years - 50% was a fairly conservative estimate, but 75% was by no means outlandish. That treats the appreciation of inherited wealth during the recipient's life as part of the inheritance, by the way.


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