Wealth concentration in a developing economy: Paris and France, 1807-1994
Thomas Piketty (),
Gilles Postel-Vinay and
Jean-Laurent Rosenthal ()
Research Unit Working Papers from Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA
Using large samples of estate tax returns we construct new series on wealth concentration in Paris and France from 1807 to 1994. Wealth concentration in Paris and in France increased until World War I and then fell abruptly. The rise in inequality prior to WWI accelerated (rather than stabilized) during the 1860-1913 period. This was largely driven by the growth of large industrial and financial estates and coincided with the decline of aristocratic fortunes (until the 1840s, the share of aristocrats and real estate in top estates was actually rising). The decline in wealth concentration that followed World War I appears to have been prompted by the 1914-1945 shocks rather than by a two-sector, Kuznets-type process. Inequality fell both in Paris and in the rest of France. Finally, individuals who lived on capital income rather than active entrepreneurs were responsible for the very high levels of wealth concentration observed on the eve of World War I. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century top wealth holders were in their 70s and 80s, whereas they had been in their 50s in the early the nineteenth century and would be so again after WWII. These results shed new light on the ongoing debate about wealth inequality and growth in the presence of capital constraints.
Keywords: wealth concentration; inequality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J14 N20 H20 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ent, nep-his and nep-pbe
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Our link check indicates that this URL is bad, the error code is: 403 Naughty, not nice!
Journal Article: Wealth Concentration in a Developing Economy: Paris and France, 1807–1994 (2006)
Working Paper: Wealth concentration ina developing economy: Paris and France, 1807-1994 (2006)
Working Paper: Wealth Concentration in a Developing Economy: Paris and France, 1807-1994 (2004)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:lea:leawpi:0504
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in Research Unit Working Papers from Laboratoire d'Economie Appliquee, INRA INRA-LEA, 48, Boulevard Jourdan, 75014 Paris, France.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Madeleine Roux (). This e-mail address is bad, please contact .