Methods for Summarizing and Comparing Wealth Distributions

Publication type

Conference Paper


Luxembourg Wealth Study Conference


Publication date

January 29, 2005


This paper reviews methods for summarizing and comparing wealth distributions. We show that many of the tools commonly used to summarize income distributions can also be applied to wealth distributions, albeit adapted in order to account for the distinctive features of wealth distributions: zero and negative wealth values; spikes in density at or around zero; right-skewness with long and sparse tails combined with non-trivial prevalence of extreme values. Illustrations are provided using data for Finland.

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