Global Wealth Inequality
GabrielZucman (UC Berkeley and NBER)
February 7, 2019
This article reviews the recent literature on the dynamics of global wealth inequality. Ifirst reconcile available estimates of wealth inequality in the United States. Both surveysand tax data show that wealth inequality has increased dramatically since the 1980s, witha top 1% wealth share around 40% in 2016 vs. 25–30% in the 1980s. Second, I discuss thefast growing literature on wealth inequality across the world. Evidence points towards arise in global wealth concentration: for China, Europe, and the United States combined,the top 1% wealth share has increased from 28% in 1980 to 33% today, while the bottom75% share hovered around 10%. Recent studies, however, may under-estimate the leveland rise of inequality, as financial globalization makes it increasingly hard to measurewealth at the top. I discuss how new data sources (leaks from financial institutions, taxamnesties, and macroeconomic statistics of tax havens) can be leveraged to better capturethe wealth of the rich.