Frisch seminar: Edda Torsdatter Solbakken
Measuring long-run wealth inequality
Abstract: Knowledge about the evolution of the level and the distribution of private wealth is important to understand economic growth and concentration of economic resources. Yet, long-run series of the wealth distribution have been charted only for a few countries, often with sparse data. We show how the combination of data on taxable wealth, housing, national accounts, and financial statistics can form a helpful basis for charting the long-run evolution of wealth. The proposed methodological approach is used to provide a description of the evolution of wealth inequality in Norway over a period of 107 years, from 1912 to 2019. The results show that wealth inequality was very high at the beginning of the previous century, fell in the post-war period and has increased since the 1980s. The estimated level of wealth inequality is shown to be rather sensitive to the information included.