January 12, 2024
Written by WID.world

New article published in JEEA on wealth inequality in Italy

The article “The concentration of personal wealth in Italy 1995–2016” by Paolo Acciari, Facundo Alvaredo, and Salvatore Morelli, has been published in the Journal of the European Economic Association (JEEA).

To read the full article online, click here.

Italy has one of the highest wealth-to-income ratios in the developed world: its stock of private wealth is equivalent to seven years of national income. However, little is known about how this wealth is distributed. This paper estimates the distribution of wealth in Italy between 1995 and 2016 using a novel source of inheritance tax files, combined with surveys and national accounts.

Key findings:

  • Italy’s level of wealth concentration is in line with other European countries; however, its time trend appears to be more in line with the US, showing a significant increase over the past two decades. The country exhibits one of the greatest declines in the wealth share of the bottom 50%.

  • Age plays a marginal role in explaining wealth concentration. Changes in savings, instead, are the predominant force behind the increase in wealth inequality, even at the top.
  • Equity prices also account for a large share of wealth growth above the 99th percentile, whereas changes in house prices play only a minor role.
  • The paper also documents the growing concentration of life-time wealth transfers, and their increasingly favorable tax treatment.


To read the full article online, click here.



  • Paolo Acciari, Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance Department of Finance
  • Facundo Alvaredo, WIL,PSE/EHESS, LSE and IIEP-UBA-Conicet
  • Salvatore Morelli, Roma Tre University – Law Department



  •  press[at]wid.world