Inequalities: Income, Wealth and Consumption


47 Pages Posted: 14 May 2021

See all articles by Marcel Boyer

Marcel Boyer

CIRANO, Université de Monréal

Date Written: April 27, 2020


I consider as misplaced the current emphasis on income and wealth inequalities as compared to the socially more relevant consumption inequalities, which have been significantly reduced over the last decades and most likely for a much longer period of time. One important factor has been the development of social transfers in kind which add significant resources to the lowest income quintile as compared to the highest quintile. I present the main characteristics of developments of income and wealth inequalities over time (since 1920): The share of the top 1% of earners followed a downward trend until the 1970-79 decade, and an upward trend afterwards, reaching in the 2010-19 decade a level similar to that of the 1920-29 decade. The share of the top 10% of earners followed a similar movement. The same picture is observed for wealth inequality. Similar increases in income inequality over the last four decades are also observed in music and sports.

Keywords: Income Inequalities, Consumption Inequalities

Suggested Citation

Boyer, Marcel, Inequalities: Income, Wealth and Consumption (April 27, 2020). CAHIER SCIENTIFIQUE CS, 2020S-26, Available at SSRN:

Marcel Boyer (Contact Author)

CIRANO, Université de Monréal ( email )

1400-1130 Sharbrooke St. West
Montreal, Quebec H3A 2M8
514 985-4000 (Phone)
514-985-4039 (Fax)


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