NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Reexamining the Distribution of Wealth in 1870

Joshua L. Rosenbloom, Gregory W. Stutes

NBER Working Paper No. 11482
Issued in July 2005
NBER Program(s):   DAE

This paper uses data on real and personal property ownership collected in the 1870 Federal Census to explore factors influencing individual wealth accumulation and the aggregate distribution of wealth in the United States near the middle of the nineteenth century. Previous analyses of these data have relied on relatively small samples, or focused on population subgroups. By using the much larger sample available in the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS) we are able to disaggregate the data much more finely than has previously been possible allowing us to explore differences in inequality across space and between different population groups. The data provide strong support for the hypothesis that American industrialization during the nineteenth century resulted in increasing inequality in the distribution of wealth.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w11482

Published: Rosenbloom, Joshua (ed.) Quantitative Economic History (Routledge Explorations in Economic History). Routledge, 2008.

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