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The Economics of Wealth Distribution

Edited by James B. Davies, Professor, Department of Economics, University of Western Ontario, Canada
This comprehensive two-volume collection includes seminal and classic articles that are key in the development of economic analysis of the distribution of wealth.
Two volume set
Extent: 1,312 pp
Hardback Price: $686.00 Web: $617.40
Publication Date: 2013
ISBN: 978 1 78195 225 2
Availability: In Stock

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  • Economics and Finance
  • History of Economic Thought
  • Public Sector Economics
This comprehensive two-volume collection includes seminal and classic articles that are key in the development of economic analysis of the distribution of wealth. Volume I discusses measurement of the distribution of wealth and analyses the time trends in wealth concentration and the importance of the role of inheritance. Theoretical approaches, including both stochastic and behavioural models are also explored. Volume II continues with articles on the determinants of saving and bequests whilst analysing life cycle and permanent income studies, as well as the role of entrepreneurship and taxation. It also includes key contributions to the controversy over the relative importance of inherited vs. self-made wealth.

Along with a new and original introduction by the editor, these volumes are an indispensable tool for scholars and practitioners alike.
‘This is a wonderful compendium of classic articles about the distribution of wealth from both empirical and theoretical perspectives. Scholars will want to have it on their bookshelf.’
– Stephen P. Jenkins, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
47 articles, dating from 1957 to 2011
Contributors include: A.B. Atkinson, B.D. Bernheim, W. Kopczuk, L.J. Kotlikoff, J. Laitner, F. Modigliani, A.F. Shorrocks, J. Stiglitz, E.N. Wolff

Volume I


Introduction James B. Davies
1. C.D. Harbury and P.C. McMahon (1973), ‘Inheritance and the Characteristics of Top Wealth Leavers in Britain’
2. A.F. Shorrocks (1975), ‘The Age-Wealth Relationship: A Cross-Section and Cohort Analysis’
3. Paul L. Menchik (1980), ‘Primogeniture, Equal Sharing and the U.S. Distribution of Wealth’
4. Laurence J. Kotlikoff and Lawrence H. Summers (1981), ‘The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Accumulation’
5. Edward N. Wolff (1987), ‘The Effects of Pensions and Social Security on the Distribution of Wealth in the US’
6. Franco Modigliani (1988), ‘The Role of Intergenerational Transfers and Life-Cycle Saving in the Accumulation of Wealth’
7. Anthony B. Atkinson, James P.F. Gordon and Alan Harrison (1989), ‘Trends in the Shares of Top Wealth Holders in Britain, 1923–1981’
8. Wojciech Kopczuk and Emmanuel Saez (2004), ‘Top Wealth Shares in the United States, 1916–2000: Evidence from Estate Tax Returns’
9. Jesper Roine and Daniel Waldenström (2009), ‘Wealth Concentration over the Path of Development: Sweden, 1873–2006’
10. Anthony B. Atkinson (2008), ‘Concentration Among the Rich’
11. Edward N. Wolff and Ajit Zacharias (2009), ‘Household Wealth and the Measurement of Economic Well-Being in the United States’
12. James B. Davies, Susanna Sandstöm, A.F. Shorrocks and Edward N. Wolff (2011), ‘The Level and Distribution of Global Household Wealth’
13. Thomas Piketty (2011), ‘On the Long-Run Evolution of Inheritance: France 1820–2050’

14. H.O.A. Wold and P. Whittle (1957), ‘A Model Explaining the Pareto Distribution of Wealth’
15. J.E. Stiglitz (1969), ‘Distribution of Income and Wealth Among Individuals’
16. Alan S. Blinder (1973), ‘A Model of Inherited Wealth’
17. John Laitner (1979), ‘Household Bequest Behaviour and the National Distribution of Wealth’
18. Gary S. Becker and Nigel Tomes (1979), ‘An Equilibrium Theory of the Distribution of Income and Intergenerational Mobility’
19. Franco Modigliani (1986), ‘Life Cycle, Individual Thrift, and the Wealth of Nations’
20. Anthony F. Shorrocks (1988), ‘Wealth Holdings and Entrepreneurial Activity’
21. Cyrus Chu (1991), ‘Primogeniture’
22. Neng Wang (2007), ‘An Equilibirum Model of Wealth Distribution’
23. Jess Benhabib, Alberto Bisin and Shenghao Zhu (2011), ‘The Distribution of Wealth and Fiscal Policy in Economies with Finitely Lived Agents’

Volume II


An Introduction by the editor appears in volume I

1. Nigel Tomes (1981), ‘The Family, Inheritance, and the Intergenerational Transmission of Inequality’
2. B. Douglas Bernheim, Andrei Shleifer and Lawrence H. Summers (1985), ‘The Strategic Bequest Motive’
3. Michael D. Hurd (1989), ‘Mortality Risks and Bequests’
4. Douglas B. Bernheim (1991), ‘How Strong are Bequest Motives? Evidence Based on the Demand for Life Insurance and Annuities’
5. Donald Cox and Mark R. Rank (1992), ‘Inter-Vivos Transfers and Intergenerational Exchange’
6. William G. Gale and John Karl Scholz (1994) ‘Intergenerational Transfers and the Accumulation of Wealth’
7. R. Glenn Hubbard, Jonathan Skinner and Stephen P. Zeldes (1995), ‘Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance’
8. John Laitner and F. Thomas Juster (1996), ‘New Evidence on Altruism: A Study of TIAA-CREF Retirees’
9. Wojciech Kopczuk and Joseph P. Lupton (2007), ‘To Leave or Not to Leave: The Distribution of Bequest Motives’
10. Karen E. Dynan, Jonathan Skinner and Stephen P. Zeldes (2004), ‘Do the Rich Save More?’
11. Audrey Light and Kathleen McGarry (2004), ‘Why Parents Play Favourites: Explanations for Unequal Bequests’

12. A.B. Atkinson (1971), ‘The Distribution of Wealth and the Individual Life Cycle’
13. Frederic L. Pryor (1973), ‘Simulation of the Impact of Social and Economic Institutions on the Size Distribution of Income and Wealth
14. James B. Davies (1982), ‘The Relative Impact of Inheritance and Other Factors on Economic Inequality’
15. Mark Huggett (1996), ‘Wealth Distribution in Life-cycle Economies’
16. Vincenzo Quadrini (2000), ‘Entrepreneurship, Saving and Social Mobility’
17. Jagadeesh Gokhale, Laurence J. Kotlikoff, James Sefton and Martin Weale (2001), ‘Simulating the Transmission of Wealth Inequality Via Bequests’
18. Mariacristina De Nardi (2004), ‘Wealth Inequality and Intergenerational Links’

19. Jack M. Mintz (1991), ‘The Role of Wealth Taxation in the Overall Tax System’
20. Louis Kaplow (2001), ‘A Framework for Assessing Estate and Gift Taxation’
21. Wojciech Kopczuk (2003), ‘The Trick is to Live: Is the Estate Tax Social Security for the Rich?’
22. B. Douglas Bernheim, Robert J. Lemke and John Karl Scholz (2004), ‘Do Estate and Gift Taxes Affect the Timing of Private Transfers?’
23. Marco Cagetti and Mariacristina De Nardi (2009), ‘Estate Taxation, Entrepreneurship and Wealth’
24. Wojciech Kopczuk (2009), ‘Economics of Estate Taxation: Review of Theory and Evidence’