No. 428 - Wealth inequality in Italy: reconstruction of 1968-75 data and comparison with recent estimates

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by Luigi Cannari and Giovanni D'AlessioMarch 2018

This paper provides a reconstruction of the joint distribution of Italian households' income and wealth in the years ranging from 1968 to 1975.

Exploiting the information available in some historical reports recently published by the Bank of Italy, the paper reconstructs synthetic microdata compatible with the aggregate results of sample surveys carried out in those years. In this way, inequality and poverty can be estimated by using the same statistical criteria that are used today, making an intertemporal comparison of the estimates possible.

The concentration of household wealth shows a downward trend in the 1970s and '80s, an increase in the years following the 1992-93 crisis and relative stability in the new century. In the period 1968-75 the concentration of wealth turns out to be greater than in recent years. The estimates of relative poverty show a decreasing trend until the 1990s and a subsequent increase; the upward trend of these indicators in recent years is steeper than that of the concentration indices.

Migration flows have contributed significantly to the recent growth in the poverty indices.

Published in 2018 in: Rivista di storia economica, v. 3, pp. 357-396