The evolution of wealth inequality and social mobility in the U.S.

Project Summary:

This is a cutting-edge project that will simulate the evolution of wealth inequality in a macroeconomic model. Specifically, the authors will assess the causes and consequences of wealth inequality, exploring how three channels—the distribution of earned income, the rate of return for various assets, and the nature of bequests—determine wealth inequality, and how U.S. wealth inequality might change via policies that affect these channels. One important academic contribution is the idea of treating intergenerational mobility in wealth as non-stationary. In terms of policy relevance, the research will inform debates over the role of inheritance in wealth inequality, and will have direct relevance in discussions over estate taxes and other capital taxation, an area where Equitable Growth has been and will continue to be active.


Alberto Bisin is Professor of Economics at New York University. He is an Elected Fellow of the Econometric Society. He is also a fellow of the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Center for Experimental Social Sciences at NYU, IGIER at Bocconi University, CIREQ at the University of Montreal, and IZA at the University of Bonn. He is also a member of the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group at the Center for the Economics of Human Development of the University of Chicago. He is Associate Editor of the Journal of Economic Theory, of Economic Theory, and of Research in Economics. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, obtained in 1994. He is founding Editor of and Op-ed contributor for La Repubblica (Italian daily). His main contributions are in the fields of general equilibrium theory, financial economics and macroeconomics, behavioral economics, and social economics. He is a co-editor of the Handbook of Social Economics.