Book
Personal Wealth from a Global Perspective

There is great media fascination in the activities and lifestyles of the super-rich. But personal wealth is also important for those of more modest means as a store of potential consumption, as a cushion against emergencies, and as collateral for business and investment loans. This book is the first global study of household assets and debts. It documents not only the level, distribution, and trend of wealth holdings in rich nations, but also addresses developing countries like China and India. The situation in Latin America and Africa is given attention along with the experiences of Russia and other transition countries. Components of household wealth like financial assets, land, and property are examined, as well as the gender division. Worldwide, it is estimated that the richest 2% own more than half of total global wealth, and that this elite group resides almost exclusively in North America, Western Europe, and rich Asia-Pacific countries.

Table of contents
  1. 1. An Overview of Personal Wealth
    James B. Davies
  2. Part I: The Rich and the Super-Rich
    2. Survey Estimates of Wealth Holdings in OECD Countries: Evidence on the Level
    Markus Jäntti and Eva Sierminska
    More Working Paper | Survey Estimates of Wealth Holdings in OECD Countries
  3. Part I: The Rich and the Super-Rich
    3. Long-Run Changes in the Concentration of Wealth: An Overview of Recent Findings
    Henry Ohlsson, Jesper Roine and Daniel Waldenstrom
    More Working Paper | Long-Run Changes in the Concentration of Wealth
  4. Part I: The Rich and the Super-Rich
    4. Concentration among the Rich
    Anthony Barnes Atkinson
    More Working Paper | Concentration among the Rich
  5. Part II: Wealth Holdings in the Developing World and Transition Countries
    5. Changes in the Distribution of Wealth in China, 1995-2002
    Shi Li and Renwei Zhao
    More Working Paper | Changes in the Distribution of Wealth in China 1995-2002
  6. Part II: Wealth Holdings in the Developing World and Transition Countries
    6. The Distribution of Household Wealth in India
    Sreenivasan Subramanian and D. Jayaraj
    More Working Paper | The Distribution of Household Wealth in India
  7. Part II: Wealth Holdings in the Developing World and Transition Countries
    7. The Evolution of Personal Wealth in the Former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe
    Sergei Guriev and Andrei Rachinsky
    More Working Paper | The Evolution of Personal Wealth in the Former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe
  8. Part II: Wealth Holdings in the Developing World and Transition Countries
    8. Household Wealth in Latin America
    Florencia Torche and Seymour Spilerman
    More Working Paper | Household Wealth in Latin America
  9. Part II: Wealth Holdings in the Developing World and Transition Countries
    9. Land Reform and Land Holdings in Brazil
    Juliano Assunção
    More Working Paper | Land Reform and Landholdings in Brazil
  10. Part II: Wealth Holdings in the Developing World and Transition Countries
    10. Estimating the Balance Sheet of the Personal Sector in an Emerging Market Country: South Africa, 1975-2003
    Janine Aron, John Muellbauer and Johan Prinsloo
    More Working Paper | Estimating the Balance Sheet of the Personal Sector in an Emerging Market Country
  11. Part II: Wealth Holdings in the Developing World and Transition Countries
    11. Asset Portfolios in Africa: Evidence from Rural Ethiopia
    Christian Rogg
    More Working Paper | Asset Portfolios in Africa
  12. Part II: Wealth Holdings in the Developing World and Transition Countries
    12. Marketable Wealth in a Poor African Country: Using an Index of Consumer Durables to Investigate Wealth Accumulation by Households in Ghana
    Ronelle Burger, Frikkie Booysen, Servaas van der Berg and Michael von Maltitz
    More Working Paper | Marketable Wealth in a Poor African Country
  13. Part III: The Role of Personal Assets in Economic Development and Performance
    13. Household Financial Assets in the Process of Development
    Patrick Honohan
    More Working Paper | Household Financial Assets in the Process of Development
  14. Part III: The Role of Personal Assets in Economic Development and Performance
    14. Housing and Personal Wealth in a Global Context
    John Muellbauer
    More Working Paper | Housing and Personal Wealth in a Global Context
  15. Part III: The Role of Personal Assets in Economic Development and Performance
    15. Housing Privatization and Household Wealth in Transition
    Ruslan Yemtsov
    More Working Paper | Housing Privatization and Household Wealth in Transition
  16. Part III: The Role of Personal Assets in Economic Development and Performance
    16. Land Titles, Credit Markets, and Wealth Distribution
    James C. MacGee
    More Working Paper | Land Titles, Credit Markets and Wealth Distributions
  17. Part III: The Role of Personal Assets in Economic Development and Performance
    17. Gender and the Distribution of Wealth in Developing Countries
    Carmen Diana Deere and Cheryl R. Doss
    More Working Paper | Gender and the Distribution of Wealth in Developing Countries
  18. Part III: The Role of Personal Assets in Economic Development and Performance
    18. The Informal Sector in Developing Countries: Output, Assets, and Employment
    Sangeeta Pratap and Erwan Quintin
    More Working Paper | The Informal Sector in Developing Countries
  19. Part IV: Who Owns the World?
    19. The World Distribution of Household Wealth
    James B. Davies, Susanna Sandström, Anthony F. Shorrocks and Edward N. Wolff
    More Working Paper | The World Distribution of Household Wealth
Show all
Endorsements

'This volume is a tour de force—an ambitious and successful effort to establish the starting point for a generation of new analyses of the economics of wealth accumulation and distribution. The studies included are sophisticated in data use and methods, and both careful and creative in their applications and conclusions. The introduction and concluding chapters provide thoughtful comparative perspective across countries and regions and good summary headliners (e.g. recent increases in wealth inequality reflect mostly self-made fortunes at the top). For economists, for students of development, for scholars of inequality in all its forms, this volume is obligatory—a treasure lode of ideas, methods, and new analysis.' - Nancy Birdsall, President, Center for Global Development, Washington DC

'Who owns the world? Did wealth inequality rise in rich countries after the early 1970s? What happened to wealth inequality in big Asian economies with double-digit growth rates? Do the Russian oligarchs make inequality so much greater there than in other transition economies? Does Latin America really have greater wealth inequality? These and other questions are answered in a wonderful new book Personal Wealth from a Global Perspective. A must read for those interested in who gains from growth.' - Jeffrey G. Williamson, Emeritus Laird Bell Professor of Economics, Harvard University and Honorary Fellow, University of Wisconsin-Madison