A century of wealth in America

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Publisher:
The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press,
Pub. Date:
2017.
Language:
English
Description

Understanding wealth in the United States—who has it, how they acquired it, and how they preserve it—is crucial to addressing the economic and political challenges facing the nation. But until now we have had little reliable information. Edward Wolff, one of the world’s great experts on the economics of wealth, offers an authoritative account of patterns in the accumulation and distribution of wealth since 1900.

A Century of Wealth in America demonstrates that the most remarkable change has been the growth of per capita household wealth, which climbed almost eightfold prior to the 2007 recession. But overlaid on this base rate are worrying trends. The share of personal wealth claimed by the richest one percent almost doubled between the mid-1970s and 2013, concurrent with a steep run-up of debt in the middle class. As the wealth of the average family dropped precipitously—by 44 percent—between 2007 and 2013, with black families hit hardest, the debt-income ratio more than doubled. The Great Recession also caused a sharp spike in asset poverty, as more and more families barely survived from one paycheck to the next. In short, the United States has changed from being one of the most economically equal of the advanced industrialized countries to being one of the most unequal.

At a time of deep uncertainty about the future, A Century of Wealth in America provides a sober bedrock of facts and astute analysis. It will become one of the few indispensable resources for contemporary public debate.

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ISBN:
9780674495142
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Grouped Work ID3400967c-58f7-07d6-f50b-7f403b4a5281
Grouping Titlecentury of wealth in america
Grouping Authorwolff edward n
Grouping Categorybook
Last Grouping Update2019-12-19 14:21:01PM
Last Indexed2020-01-23 04:40:01AM

Solr Details

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authorWolff, Edward N.,
author_displayWolff, Edward N
available_at_arlingtonCentral
collection_arlingtonAdult Nonfiction
detailed_location_arlingtonCentral Adult Nonfiction
display_descriptionEdward Wolff, one of the country's leading experts on household wealth, here provides a comprehensive study of wealth in America since 1910. The century brought shifting patterns in the ownership of wealth; Wolff explains the changes, offers ideas about how to reduce inequality, and explores issues in how to measure wealth in the first place. A Century of Wealth in America is not designed to advance one overarching argument; rather, its aim is to provide in one place the accurate information needed to consider many arguments. Still, Wolff presents no fewer than ten major findings in its pages. One of these is that median household wealth has recently returned to the levels of 1969. Another is that the average wealth of black families relative to white families has slipped significantly in recent years, after thirty years of stability. A third finding: the US has changed since 1950 from being one of the most equal countries in the developed world to being one of the most class-ridden. For many readers the book will serve as a complement to Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century. But while it reinforces Piketty's argument in many ways, it concentrates on wealth (as opposed to income), for example, and says much more about the poor. Wolff's ideas are also different than Piketty's on issues of inheritance (he's less worried about it) and the relationship between r (the rate of return to capital) and g (the overall rate of economic growth). He argues that inequality rises if r for the top one percent is greater than r for the middle class. Finally, thanks to its focus on America, the book provides much more fine-grained detail about the country, not least about the demographics of wealth and poverty.--
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Bib IdFormatFormat CategoryEditionLanguagePublisherPublication DatePhysical Description
ils:.b19907072BookBooksEnglishThe Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2017.xv, 865 pages ; 25 cm
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subject_facetHouseholds -- Economic aspects -- United States -- History -- 20th century
Households -- Economic aspects -- United States -- History -- 21st century
United States -- Economic conditions -- 2001-2009
United States -- Economic conditions -- 2009-
United States -- Economic conditions -- 20th century
Wealth -- United States -- History -- 20th century
Wealth -- United States -- History -- 21st century
title_displayA century of wealth in America
title_fullA century of wealth in America / Edward N. Wolff
title_shortA century of wealth in America