Research Paper, UNU-WIDER, United Nations University (UNU) 2006/151
The aim of this paper is to examine the concentration of wealth among the group of top wealth holders, defined as those with wealth in excess of a high cut off. The paper begins by considering the definition of this cut off, analogous to the definition of a poverty line at the other end of the distribution. It then considers what can be learned about the proportion classified as ‘rich’ and about the concentration among the rich from four non-survey sources: journalists’ lists, estate data, wealth tax data, and investment income tax data. It starts off from the world’s billionaires in 2006, but is particularly concerned with changes over time within countries, taking France, Germany, the UK, and the USA, to illustrate the different sources.