Multidimensional Wealth Inequality: A Hybrid Approach toward Distributional National Accounts in Europe

Sofie R. Waltl
Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research & Vienna University of Economics and Business


Distributional National Accounts (DINA) link macroeconomic aggregates with distributional information enabling a better understanding of distributional implications of macroeconomic developments and facilitate cross-country comparisons of inequality. This article proposes a practically feasible framework to allocate components of wealth to different sections of society and serves two functions: a comprehensive measure of net worth and its distribution, and a link to macroeconomic statistics. The article compiles DINA by breaking down twelve components of marketable wealth by wealth and income groups, as well as three major functions of wealth for Austria, Finland, France, Germany and Spain. The three functions of wealth considered are (i) precautionary saving, (ii) own use of housing assets and (iii) income generation via the ownership of businesses or landlordship. The resulting multidimensional wealth distributions reveal large heterogeneity in inequality and help understand (institutional) differences across countries and time. Results are top-tail adjusted using Pareto and Generalized Pareto models, and combining survey data (HFCS) with rich lists, or top wealth shares derived from tax data and leaked information on wealth held in offshore tax havens.

JEL.: D31, D91, E01, R31

Keywords: Distributional National Accounts (DINA);Wealth Distribution; Micro-macro linkage; HFCS; Top Tail Adjustment


Waltl, Sofie R. (2020) Multidimensional Wealth Inequality: A Hybrid Approach toward Distributional National Accounts in Europe. INEQ Working Paper Series, 16. WU Vienna University of Economics. and Business, Vienna. 

Presentations: [DIW Berlin, July 2018] [35th General Conference of the International Association for Research in Income and Wealth (IARIW), Copenhagen, August 2018] [SEMILUX seminar at the University of Luxembourg, October 2018] [European Central Bank, November 2018] [Wealth Inequality and Mobility Workshop, U of Luxembourg, December 2018] [Austrian Economic Association (NOeG) Winter Workshop, Vienna, December 2018][University of Antwerp, Feburary 2019][Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence (ESCoE) Conference on Economic Measurement, King’s College, London, May 2019]

Media: Vermögen: Wem gehört Österreich? (derStandard Ökonomieblog, April 2019)