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Economic History Workshop - Where is the Middle Class? Inequality, Gender and the Shape of the Upper Tail from 45 million English Death and Probate Records, 1892-1992 Economic History Workshop - Where is the Middle Class? Inequality, Gender and the Shape of the Upper Tail from 45 million English Death and Probate Records, 1892-1992

Economic History Workshop - Where is the Middle Class? Inequality, Gender and the Shape of the Upper Tail from 45 million English Death and Probate Records, 1892-1992

Date: Tuesday, November 27, 2018 16:00 - 17:30 Add to Calendar
Venue: Asia Global Institute, MB 328, 3/F Main Building, HKU
Speaker(s): Neil Cummins
Abstract

Neil Cummins of LSE analyses a newly constructed individual level dataset of every English death and probate from 1892-1992.

The estimated top wealth shares match closely existing estimates. However, his analysis clearly shows that the 20th century’s ‘Great Equalization’ of wealth stalled in mid-century. The probate rate, which captures the proportion of English with any significant wealth at death rose from 10% in the 1890s to 40% by 1950 and has stagnated to 1992. Despite the large declines in the wealth share of the top 1%, from 73% to 20%, the median English person died with almost nothing throughout. All changes in inequality after 1950 involve a reshuffling of wealth within the top 30%. Further, it is found that a log-linear distribution fits the empirical data better than a Pareto power law. Finally, his study shows that the top wealth shares are increasingly and systematically male as one ascends in wealth, 1892-1992, but this has equalized over the 20th century.

About the Speaker(s)
Neil Cummins

Neil Cummins

Associate Professor of Economic History, London School of Economics
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Asia Global Institute

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