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Modeling the Distribution and Intergenerational Transmission of Wealth

This pioneering volume uses modern statistical and simulation techniques to explain the process of wealth transmission and the persistent problem of the unequal distribution of wealth. These papers reflect a shift from the traditional cross-sectional measurement to an intertemporal focus by attempting to model mathematically the actual process by which wealth is acquired and transmitted. There are many questions to be answered: What are the factors influencing saving? What is the role of mating? What decides ownership between spouses? How are rare assets distributed by divorce? What are the patterns of behavior in making gifts and bequests? And what is the effect of the relative ages of the persons involved?

Table of Contents

Introduction by James D. Smith
1. Long-Term Trends in American Wealth Inequality
Jeffrey G. Williamson and Peter H. Lindert
2. The Wealth of Testators and Its Distribution: Butler County, Ohio, 1803-65
William H. Newell
Comment on Chapters 1 and 2 - Robert E. Gallman
Further Comment - William H. Newell
3. The Perpetuation of Wealth: A Simulation Model
Michael Patrick Allen
Comment on Chapter 3 - Thad W. Mirer
4. The Importance of Material Inheritance: The Financial Link between Generations
Paul L. Menchik
5. The Bequest Process and the Causes of Inequality in the Distribution of Wealth
Michael C. Wolfson
Comment on Chapter 5 - Martin David
Further Comment: Michael C. Wolfson
6. Estimates of the 1969 Size Distribution of Household Wealth in the U.S. from a Synthetic Data Base
Edward N. Wolff
Comment on Chapter 6 - Vito Natrella
7. The Intergenerational Transmission of Wealth: Does Family Size Matter?
James D. Smith and Guy H. Orcutt
8. Relevance in Economic Measurement: Public Inheritances
Nelson McClung
List of Contributors
Author Index
Subject Index

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