Wealth begets wealth. This simple concept of privilege has added to growing discontent with inequality that has escalated under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A paper co-authored this year by economists from the IMF and other institutions confirms that wealthier people are more likely to earn higher returns on their investments. It also shows that the children of wealthy people, while likely to inherit that wealth, aren’t necessarily going to make the same high returns on investments.
Detailed data on wealth are extremely rare, but 12-years of tax records (2004-2015) from Norway have opened a new window into wealth accumulation for individuals and their offspring. The Nordic country has a wealth tax that requires assets to be reported by employers, banks and other third parties in order to reduce errors from self-reporting. The data, which are made public under certain conditions, also make it possible to match parents with their children.
The data show that an individual in the 75th percentile of wealth distribution who invested $1 in 2004 would have yielded $1.50 by the end of 2015—a return of 50 percent. A person in the top 0.1 percent would have yielded $2.40 on the same invested dollar—a return of 140 […]
February 13, 2018
High and rising income inequality is a serious concern in many countries, as highlighted in the IMF’s recent Fiscal Monitor. Wealth, however, is distributed even more unequally than income, as in the picture below. […]
January 3, 2018
In the Spring of 2017, we began our Chart of the Week feature on the blog: snapshots in time and over time of how economies work, to help illuminate the uncharted waters ahead for the global economy.
Here are the top ten Charts of the Week of 2017, based on your readership. […]
(Versions in Español)
The Finance Minister answers her mobile. On the line is the Minister of Energy, who informs her that the country has struck oil and that he expects revenues from its sale to start flowing into the budget in the coming four years. While excited by the prospects of higher revenues—indeed the average resource-rich country gets more than 15 percent of GDP in resource revenues—she starts to ponder how to use these revenues for her country’s development. She is aware that only in rare cases have natural resources served as a catalyst for development; too often they have led to economic instability, corruption, and conflict or what has been termed as “the resource curse.”