Chapter

The Historical Course of Change in the Distribution of Wealth

Henry Phelps Brown

in Egalitarianism and the Generation of Inequality

Published in print November 1988 | ISBN: 9780198286486
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596773 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198286481.003.0015
 The Historical Course of Change in the Distribution of Wealth

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This chapter examines historical changes in the distribution of wealth in five sections. The first looks at the fifteenth century, and compares data that originate from property assessments for taxation purposes from Italy (six cities in Tuscan), Switzerland (Basel), and the UK; the second looks at English urban wealth in 1522–5. The third section discusses the historical course of change in England and Wales––using data from the American scholar Peter Lindert, which include probated valuations for five selected dates (1670, 1700, 1740, 1810, and 1875) and four regions (Cambridgeshire, London–Middlesex, West Midlands, and the East and West Ridings of Yorkshire). The fourth section looks at changes in the distribution of British wealth in the twentieth century––a period for which there is much more information. The last section of the chapter looks at the course of change in wealth distribution in the USA, starting in the mid‐seventeenth century.

Keywords: England; history; Italy; Switzerland; UK; USA; wealth distribution

Chapter.  12912 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Economics

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