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Macroeconomic determinants of wealth inequality dynamics

Edmond Berisha and John Meszaros

Economic Modelling, 2020, vol. 89, issue C, 153-165

Abstract: The evolution of wealth inequality over the long run depends on income growth, inflation, and interest rates. In this paper, we examine, in a dynamic setting, the effect of these three macroeconomic variables on wealth inequality in the United States over the periods 1929–2009 and 1962–2009. The results show that these macroeconomic factors explain a significant amount of the changes in wealth inequality. The results indicate that increases in inflation and income growth contribute positively to net wealth shares of adults in the bottom 50% and middle 40% of the wealth distribution, leading to decreases in overall wealth inequality. Interestingly, the results show increases in interest rates contribute to lower wealth inequality in the U.S. although this result does not hold across all the inequality measures.

Keywords: Wealth inequality; Monetary policy; Inflation; Income growth; Interest rates; Household debt (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D31 E25 E40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.econmod.2019.10.001

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