The Top Tail of the Wealth Distribution

Stefan Bach, Andreas Thiemann, Aline Zucco, Stefan Bach, Andreas Thiemann, Diw Berlin, Aline Zucco
2015 unpublished
We analyze the top tail of the wealth distribution in Germany, France, Spain, and Greece based on the Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS). Since top wealth is likely to be underrepresented in household surveys we integrate the big fortunes from rich lists, estimate a Pareto distribution, and impute the missing rich. Instead of the Forbes list we mainly rely on national rich lists since they represent a broader base for the big fortunes. As a result, the top percentile share of
more » ... old wealth in Germany jumps up from 24 percent in the HFCS alone to 33 percent after top wealth imputation. For France and Spain we find only a small effect of the imputation since rich households are better captured in the survey. The results for Greece are ambiguous since the data do not show clear concentration patterns. Acknowledgement: We thank Peter Haan, Charlotte Bartels, Margit Schratzenstaller-Altzinger, Markus Grabka and Christian Westermeier for helpful discussions and valuable comments. The usual disclaimer applies.