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ON THE LONG-RUN EVOLUTION OF INHERITANCE: FRANCE 1820—2050

This article attempts to document and account for the long-run evolution of inheritance. We find that in a country like France the annual flow of inheritance was about 20—25% of national income between 1820 and 1910, down to less than 5% in 1950, and back up to about 15% by 2010. A simple theoretica... Full description

Journal Title: The Quarterly Journal of Economics 2011-08-01, Vol.126 (3), p.1071-1131
Main Author: Piketty, Thomas
Format: Electronic Article Electronic Article
Language: English
Subjects:
Publisher: Oxford: MIT Press
ID: ISSN: 0033-5533
Link: https://hal-pjse.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00754528
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recordid: cdi_hal_shs_oai_HAL_halshs_00754528v1
title: ON THE LONG-RUN EVOLUTION OF INHERITANCE: FRANCE 1820—2050
format: Article
creator:
  • Piketty, Thomas
subjects:
  • 19th century
  • 20th century
  • 21st century
  • Aggregate income
  • Bequests
  • Demographic Economics
  • Distribution
  • Economic growth rate
  • Economic History
  • Economic models
  • Economic theory
  • Economics
  • Economics and Finance
  • Empirical research
  • Estate taxes
  • Finance
  • Fluctuations
  • France
  • General
  • General Aggregative Models
  • Growth
  • Historical analysis
  • History
  • Humanities
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Income taxes
  • Industrial Structure
  • Inheritance
  • Inheritance and succession
  • Inheritances
  • International
  • Labor
  • Macroeconomics
  • Microeconomics
  • Monetary Economics
  • Mortality
  • National income
  • National income accounts
  • or Comparative
  • Social Sciences
  • Statistics
  • Steady state economies
  • Studies
  • Wealth
  • Western Europe
ispartof: The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2011-08-01, Vol.126 (3), p.1071-1131
description: This article attempts to document and account for the long-run evolution of inheritance. We find that in a country like France the annual flow of inheritance was about 20—25% of national income between 1820 and 1910, down to less than 5% in 1950, and back up to about 15% by 2010. A simple theoretical model of wealth accumulation, growth, and inheritance can fully account for the observed U-shaped pattern and levels. Using this model, we find that under plausible assumptions the annual bequest flow might reach about 20—25% of national income by 2050. This corresponds to a capitalized bequest share in total wealth accumulation well above 100%. Our findings illustrate the fact that when the growth rate g is small, and when the rate of return to private wealth r is permanently and substantially larger than the growth rate (say, r = 4—5% versus g = 1—2%), which was the case in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century and is likely to happen again in the twenty-first century, then past wealth and inheritance are bound to play a key role for aggregate wealth accumulation and the structure of lifetime inequality. Contrary to a widespread view, modern economic growth did not kill inheritance.
language: eng
source:
identifier: ISSN: 0033-5533
fulltext: no_fulltext
issn:
  • 0033-5533
  • 1531-4650
url: Link


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titleON THE LONG-RUN EVOLUTION OF INHERITANCE: FRANCE 1820—2050
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descriptionThis article attempts to document and account for the long-run evolution of inheritance. We find that in a country like France the annual flow of inheritance was about 20—25% of national income between 1820 and 1910, down to less than 5% in 1950, and back up to about 15% by 2010. A simple theoretical model of wealth accumulation, growth, and inheritance can fully account for the observed U-shaped pattern and levels. Using this model, we find that under plausible assumptions the annual bequest flow might reach about 20—25% of national income by 2050. This corresponds to a capitalized bequest share in total wealth accumulation well above 100%. Our findings illustrate the fact that when the growth rate g is small, and when the rate of return to private wealth r is permanently and substantially larger than the growth rate (say, r = 4—5% versus g = 1—2%), which was the case in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century and is likely to happen again in the twenty-first century, then past wealth and inheritance are bound to play a key role for aggregate wealth accumulation and the structure of lifetime inequality. Contrary to a widespread view, modern economic growth did not kill inheritance.
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languageeng
publisherOxford: MIT Press
subject19th century ; 20th century ; 21st century ; Aggregate income ; Bequests ; Demographic Economics ; Distribution ; Economic growth rate ; Economic History ; Economic models ; Economic theory ; Economics ; Economics and Finance ; Empirical research ; Estate taxes ; Finance ; Fluctuations ; France ; General ; General Aggregative Models ; Growth ; Historical analysis ; History ; Humanities ; Humanities and Social Sciences ; Income taxes ; Industrial Structure ; Inheritance ; Inheritance and succession ; Inheritances ; International ; Labor ; Macroeconomics ; Microeconomics ; Monetary Economics ; Mortality ; National income ; National income accounts ; or Comparative ; Social Sciences ; Statistics ; Steady state economies ; Studies ; Wealth ; Western Europe
ispartofThe Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2011-08-01, Vol.126 (3), p.1071-1131
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descriptionThis article attempts to document and account for the long-run evolution of inheritance. We find that in a country like France the annual flow of inheritance was about 20—25% of national income between 1820 and 1910, down to less than 5% in 1950, and back up to about 15% by 2010. A simple theoretical model of wealth accumulation, growth, and inheritance can fully account for the observed U-shaped pattern and levels. Using this model, we find that under plausible assumptions the annual bequest flow might reach about 20—25% of national income by 2050. This corresponds to a capitalized bequest share in total wealth accumulation well above 100%. Our findings illustrate the fact that when the growth rate g is small, and when the rate of return to private wealth r is permanently and substantially larger than the growth rate (say, r = 4—5% versus g = 1—2%), which was the case in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century and is likely to happen again in the twenty-first century, then past wealth and inheritance are bound to play a key role for aggregate wealth accumulation and the structure of lifetime inequality. Contrary to a widespread view, modern economic growth did not kill inheritance.
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019th century
120th century
221st century
3Aggregate income
4Bequests
5Demographic Economics
6Distribution
7Economic growth rate
8Economic History
9Economic models
10Economic theory
11Economics
12Economics and Finance
13Empirical research
14Estate taxes
15Finance
16Fluctuations
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18General
19General Aggregative Models
20Growth
21Historical analysis
22History
23Humanities
24Humanities and Social Sciences
25Income taxes
26Industrial Structure
27Inheritance
28Inheritance and succession
29Inheritances
30International
31Labor
32Macroeconomics
33Microeconomics
34Monetary Economics
35Mortality
36National income
37National income accounts
38or Comparative
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43Wealth
44Western Europe
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120th century
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abstractThis article attempts to document and account for the long-run evolution of inheritance. We find that in a country like France the annual flow of inheritance was about 20—25% of national income between 1820 and 1910, down to less than 5% in 1950, and back up to about 15% by 2010. A simple theoretical model of wealth accumulation, growth, and inheritance can fully account for the observed U-shaped pattern and levels. Using this model, we find that under plausible assumptions the annual bequest flow might reach about 20—25% of national income by 2050. This corresponds to a capitalized bequest share in total wealth accumulation well above 100%. Our findings illustrate the fact that when the growth rate g is small, and when the rate of return to private wealth r is permanently and substantially larger than the growth rate (say, r = 4—5% versus g = 1—2%), which was the case in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century and is likely to happen again in the twenty-first century, then past wealth and inheritance are bound to play a key role for aggregate wealth accumulation and the structure of lifetime inequality. Contrary to a widespread view, modern economic growth did not kill inheritance.
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doi10.1093/qje/qjr020
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