NBER

Magnus Irie

Department of Finance
London School of Economics
Houghton Street
London
United Kingdom

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: London School of Economics

NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2020Understanding 100 Years of the Evolution of Top Wealth Shares in the U.S.: What is the Role of Family Firms?
with Andrew Atkeson: w27465
We use a simple random growth model to study the role of changing dynamics of family firms in shaping the evolution of top wealth shares in the United States over the course of the past century. Our model generates a time path for top wealth shares remarkably similar to those found by Saez and Zucman (2016) and Gomez (2019) when the volatility of idiosyncratic shocks to the value of family firms is similar to that found for public firms by Herskovic, Kelly, Lustig, and Van Nieuwerburgh (2016) over the past 100 years. We also show that consideration of family firms contributes not only to overall wealth inequality, but also to considerable upward and downward mobility of families within the distribution of wealth. We interpret our results as indicating that improving our understanding of th...

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