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IFS-STICERD Public Economics Seminar & IFS-STICERD Public Economics Seminar

Where Does Wealth Come From?

Sandra Black (The University of Texas at Austin), joint with Paul Devereux, Fanny Landaud, and Kjell Salvanes

Wednesday 17 November 2021 16:30 - 17:30

Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.

Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.

Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.


About this event

Much attention has been given to rising wealth inequality in recent decades. However, understanding inequality requires an understanding of how wealth relates to the potential wealth an individual could accumulate and where this wealth comes from. Using administrative data from Norway, we create measures of potential wealth that abstract from differential consumption and spending behavior. We then examine how these measures relate to observed net wealth of individuals at a point in time and the role played by different sources of wealth in the distribution of potential wealth. We find that net wealth is a reasonable proxy for potential wealth, particularly in the tails of the distribution. Importantly, people in different parts of the potential wealth (or actual net wealth) distribution get their wealth from very different sources. Labor income is the most important determinant of wealth, except among the top 1%, where capital income and capital gains on financial assets become important. Inheritances and gifts are not an important determinant of wealth, even at the top of the wealth distribution. Finally, although inheritances are not important, parental wealth does influence child’s wealth; children of wealthy parents accumulate wealth from very different sources than children of less wealthy parents he largest effects but the shock spreads to all regions via migration of native workers.

This seminar series is jointly organized by the IFS and STICERD.

IFS-STICERD Public Economics seminars are held on Wednesdays in term time at 16:30-17:30 ONLINE or at 12.30-12.45 IN PERSON at the IFS.

Seminar organisers: Stuart Adam (IFS), Monica Costa Dias (IFS), Xavier Jaravel (LSE), Camille Landais (LSE), Attila Lindner (UCL), Joana Naritomi (LSE), and Johannes Spinnewijn (LSE).

For further information please contact Lubala Chibwe, either by email: l.chibwe@lse.ac.uk.

Please use this link to subscribe or unsubscribe to the IFS-STICERD Public Economics seminars mailing list (pubecon).

This seminar series is jointly organized by the IFS and STICERD.

IFS-STICERD Public Economics seminars are held on Wednesdays in term time at 16:30-17:30 ONLINE or at 12.30-12.45 IN PERSON at the IFS.

Seminar organisers: Stuart Adam (IFS), Monica Costa Dias (IFS), Xavier Jaravel (LSE), Camille Landais (LSE), Attila Lindner (UCL), Joana Naritomi (LSE), and Johannes Spinnewijn (LSE).

For further information please contact Lubala Chibwe, either by email: l.chibwe@lse.ac.uk.

Please use this link to subscribe or unsubscribe to the IFS-STICERD Public Economics seminars mailing list (pubecon).