The Development of Wealth Inequality in the World

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School of Business | Bachelor's thesis
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Degree programme
In the recent years, wealth inequality has become increasingly popular topic of interest for many authors and researchers. Still, we seem to have quite a scarce set of complete data and evidence on it, as well as on many subsets of it, such as inheritance. This literature review aims to provide an overview of the current state, as well as a brief history of wealth inequality in the world. I find the wealth inequality to have developed following a U-shape in most of the developed countries, over the last two centuries. In other words, we started from the high level of it, fell downwards, and now are getting back to higher levels of inequality. I then continue to review some of the reasoning behind the development, like the formation of Middle Class for downwards development in the beginning of the 20th century, and the role of inheritance in increasing inequality. Finally, I investigate argumentation regarding progressive wealth taxation as a one possible way to diminish the inequality and highlight the difficulties on the area of study. I conclude inequality to be increasing, and regardless of one’s choice of a political opinion, needed to be taken seriously.
Thesis advisor
Murto, Pauli
Knoepfle, Jan
wealth inequality, wealth concentration, wealth taxation, inheritance, Piketty
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