Bequests and the Accumulation of Wealth in the Eurozone

Publication: Working/Discussion PaperWU Working Paper

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This paper empirically compares the contribution of the two major wealth accumulation factors earned income and inheritances to the net wealth position of households in the Eurozone. The elasticities of both wealth sources differ considerably across countries and are overly non-linear. Depending on the position in the wealth distribution, an increase of one percentile in the income distribution corresponds to 0.1-0.6 percentiles in the net wealth distribution. We find substantially stronger effects for inheritances vis--vis income. In Greece, Portugal, and Austria, households have to climb around three percentiles in the income distribution to compensate a one percentile increase in the inheritance distribution. The findings clearly suggest that bequests play a stronger role in wealth accumulation than earned income.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

SeriesINEQ Working Paper Series

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502010 Public finance
  • 502025 Econometrics
  • 502046 Economic policy
  • 507016 Regional economy

WU Working Paper Series

  • INEQ Working Paper Series


  • INEQ Income & Wealth
  • INEQ Taxes & Welfare State

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