Top Wealth Shares in Australia 1915–2012

14 Pages Posted: 26 May 2016

See all articles by Pamela Katic

Pamela Katic

Australian National University (ANU)

Andrew Leigh

Australian House of Representatives Parliament House; Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, ANU; IZA

Date Written: June 2016

Abstract

Combining data from surveys, inheritance tax records, and rich lists, we estimate top wealth shares for Australia from World War I until the present day. We find that the top 1 percent share declined by two‐thirds from 1915 until the late 1960s, and rose from the late 1970s to 2010. The recent increase is sharpest at the top of the distribution, with the top 0.001 percent wealth share tripling from 1984 to 2012. The trend in top wealth shares is similar to that in Australian top income shares (though the drop in the first half of the twentieth century is larger for wealth than income shares). Since the early twentieth century, top wealth shares in Australia have been lower than in the U.K. and U.S.

Keywords: estate taxation, inequality, rich lists, wealth distribution

JEL Classification: D31, N37

Suggested Citation

Katic, Pamela and Leigh, Andrew, Top Wealth Shares in Australia 1915–2012 (June 2016). Review of Income and Wealth, Vol. 62, Issue 2, pp. 209-222, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2784067 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/roiw.12177

Pamela Katic (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

Andrew Leigh

Australian House of Representatives Parliament House ( email )

Canberra, 2600
Australia

Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, ANU ( email )

ANU College of Business and Economics
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

IZA ( email )

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