Intergenerational Transfers and Wealth Inequality

Awarded Scholars:
Lisa Keister, Duke University
Richard Benton, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Project Date:
Jun 2016
Award Amount:
Project Programs:
Social, Political, and Economic Inequality

Over the last 40 years, the top 10 percent of wealth holders have increased their share of household wealth from about 65 to nearly 80 percent. Lisa Keister and Richard Benton will examine the extent to which intergenerational transfers influence wealth concentration and the role of transfers in maintaining inequality. They will analyze how wealth transfers have changed over time and how those changes differ at various levels of the wealth distribution. They will also explore how wealth transfers and wealth mobility are associated by analyzing the relative importance of education on wealth mobility and how education and self-employment interact to mediate movement into the top of the wealth distribution. Finally, they will evaluate the association between government policies and wealth inequality and mobility, with a focus on the extent to which estate and gift taxes are associated with transfers.


RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.


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