weatlh and income ginis

J. Barkley Rosser, Jr. rosserjb at jmu.edu
Sat Aug 19 12:23:56 PDT 2000

I thank Doug for updating us (and me) on the Fed surveys of wealth ginis. I now remember that the study by Avery was the first of those and was back in the early 1980s, or thereabouts.

Actually, this does support my main point, that income distribution gets estimated much more than wealth distribution. The status of wealth distribution estimation in the US, a Fed survey every three years, is about where income distribution studies are in most LDCs, a half-baked survey every several years. Milanovic can give excruciating details about how badly many of these are done. No wealth surveys are done in most of these countries at all.

Today in the US we now have annual series on state level ginis. I'm not sure how long those have been running. Bob Putnam has even used those to claim that social capital (bowling together and trusting each other) tends to be higher in states with more equal distributions of income (his new book on _Bowling Alone_).

Would you agree with this general point, Doug? Income distribution data is much more available in general worldwide than wealth distribution data/ Barkley Rosser

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