Inequality and Inheritances
How inheritances contribute to overall wealth inequality
Edward Wolff from the New York University investigates how inheritances have become more important over time and how they contribute to overall wealth inequality.
Have inheritances become more important over time in the U.S.?
There is reason to think that the share of wealth transfers has been rising as the current generation of elderly is now the richest in U.S. history. Moreover, the baby-boom generation has now reached the prime inheritance age group of 50-59 and may be the first generation to inherit a considerable amount of money.
However, there is little evidence of an inheritance “boom”. How much, if at all, do inheritances contribute to overall wealth inequality?
Though inheritances received are much larger for richer than poorer families, inheritances, as a share of current wealth, tend to be higher for poorer families and thus tend to reduce overall wealth inequality.