The stratospheric wealth of the richest 0.1% in the US is difficult to conceptualize, but a new paper (pdf) from the National Bureau of Economic Research believes that the total share held by the super-rich is likely much higher than previously estimated.
The authors Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman analyzed the work of a 2021 Princeton Economics Paper which stated that the wealth held by the richest 0.1% in the US was about 16% of the nation’s wealth in 2016. It also concluded that “wealth inequality had grown less dramatically… and wealth is less concentrated among the very rich (the top 0.1%) than many believe.”
But Saez and Zucman say the Princeton paper didn’t consider some things. For one thing, it relied on tax data without incorporating SEC filings about large holdings in publicly traded companies. Therefore, Princeton underestimated the shareholder wealth of billionaire shareholders by a factor of 2.1, the researchers said.
Second, he questioned the way the Princeton newspaper calculated mutual fund returns saying it was too small and unrepresentative and resulted in an underestimate by a factor of 1.6. Third, the way the Princeton paper estimated staggered partnerships and business profit measurement meant that large S corporations were undervalued by a factor of 1.2 and higher property companies by up to 2.2.
“Because of the lack of administrative data on wealth and the complex tenure structures and tax planning strategies of the ultra-rich, one has to combine a variety of data sources, make assumptions, and be open to revising previous approaches when it comes up. new information. ”, wrote Saez and Zucman. Instead, a more accurate picture of the share of the nation’s wealth held by the 0.1% is around 20%, they say.
Gautam Adani becomes the richest Asian in history
In global super-wealth news: India’s Gautam Adani became the third richest person in the world this week, the first time an Asian has cracked the top three.
Worth an estimated $137 billion, only Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (worth $153 billion) and Tesla CEO Elon Musk (worth $251 billion) are richer than Adani. The college dropout started out as a diamond trader before founding the Adani Group. He has amassed a portfolio of companies including coal, power and ports, though a recent report criticized the company for being “deeply overleveraged”.