The Accumulation and Transfers of Wealth: Variations by Social Class

Marianne Nordli Hansen and Øyvind Nicolay Wiborg have studied the association between class origin, wealth transfers, and wealth accumulation, with a focus on money transfers to Norwegian young adults. The study is presented in article in the European Sociological Review.

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The purpose of our study is to investigate the role of wealth in broader stratification processes. Based on unique data from Norwegian tax registers, we address questions about the association between class origin, wealth transfers, and wealth accumulation among young adults. We show that is more common to receive transfers in the higher than in the lower social classes, and that those originating in the economic upper class, i.e. large proprietors, owners, of single enterprises as well as investors with diversified portfolios, and top managers and directors, are especially likely to receive transfers, as well as especially large inter vivos gifts. As young adults, those with upper-class origins, and especially origins in the economic upper class, accumulate more wealth than those with origins in classes lower in the social hierarchy. In all social classes, those who have received wealth transfers accumulate most wealth. We argue that transferring wealth indeed appears as robust and efficient mobility or reproduction strategy.

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Published July 29, 2019 1:40 PM - Last modified July 29, 2019 1:41 PM