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Inheriting Wealth in America – Future Boom or Bust? - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Inheriting Wealth in America: Future Boom or Bust?

Edward N. Wolff


Inheritances are often regarded as a great “evil,” enabling great fortunes to be passed from one generation to another, exacerbating wealth inequality, and reducing wealth mobility. Using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, and a simulation model over years 1989 to 2010, I report six major findings. First, wealth transfers (inheritances and gifts) accounted for less than one-quarter of household wealth. However, for persons age 75 and over, the figure was about two-fifths. Indirect evidence from the simulation model indicates a figure closer to two-th ... More

Keywords: inheritances, gifts, inter-vivos transfers, wealth transfers, household wealth, net worth, inequality, wealth inequality

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780199353958
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199353958.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Edward N. Wolff, author
New York University