The intergenerational transmission of family wealth

This project is investigating the direct transmission of wealth across generations and the role of institutions, policy and legislation in the intergenerational transmission of wealth.

Rising income inequality is a widely shared concern, but wealth is far more unequally distributed and is a core dimension of broader economic inequality in the UK today. While a good deal is known about inter-generational mobility in income, social class and education, there remain serious gaps in knowledge about the role of wealth in the transmission of socio-economic advantages and disadvantages from one generation to the next in Britain.

Using newly available quantitative data for the UK and comparator countries, especially the Wealth and Assets Survey and the Luxembourg Wealth Study, the researchers are first undertaking an in-depth examination of the comparability of the British data with other countries – to ensure comparative findings will be reliable and robust.

The research team will subsequently examine the direct transmission of wealth across generations in Britain compared to other rich countries (with particular emphasis on Australia, France, Germany, Italy and the USA), and explore what this suggests about the dynamics of wealth accumulation and inequality.  They will investigate the role of institutions, policy and legislation in the intergenerational transmission of wealth and what might be done to promote equality of opportunity.

Findings will enhance knowledge and understanding about the complex ways in which wealth transfers influence wealth accumulation and inequality in the UK and more broadly, and inform thinking about how policy should respond. 

Databases created during this project will be made available to future researchers.

Project details

 

Researchers:

Professor Brian Nolan, Institute of New Economic Thinking, University of Oxford

Dr Erzsébet Bukodi, Department of Social Policy & Intervention, University of Oxford

Dr Salvatore Morelli, Stone Center on Socio-economic Inequality, CUNY

Professor Phillippe Van Kerm, Institute of Economic Research, University of Luxembourg

Grant amount and duration: 

£171,299

July 2018 – December 2019