Graph/Table of the Week: Wealth inequality even higher than income inequality

This week a Map and a graph really. Global household wealth in mid-2014 totaled USD 263 trillion, according to the new edition of the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report (written again by Shorrocks, Davies and Lluberas; I pointed out to the previous edition before here). Map below shows the global distribution of wealth by country.
The top 1% in the US holds approximately 20% of income, and more like 33% of all wealth, as shown in the graph below.


The equivalent for the top decile is 75% of wealth. Asset price dynamics is essential to understand the evolution of wealth inequality, and inheritance is central to its persistence. If you had any doubts.

Graph/Table of the Week: Infant Mortality and Health Spending in Africa

Figure below is from Léonce Ndikumana and James Boyce’s Africa’s Odious Debt, and shows the relation between public health expenditures and infant mortality in 33 countries in the 2005-7 period.

ndikumana-boyceThe regression coefficient is -0.26, meaning that an increase in 1% in spending reduces infant mortality by 0.26%. The argument in the book suggests that to the extent that resources are used to paying for external debt, then debt service is bad for health outcomes.

Graph/Table of the Week

Figure below shows the wealth share per percentile, top 10 divided by the top 3 percent and the following 7, and bottom 90 percent, since 1989.

Wealth shares by wealth percentile, 1989–2013

As it can be seen the wealth share of the top 3 percent increased from 44.8 percent in 1989 to 54.4 percent in 2013. See the original report here. And yes the top 10 combined have more than 70 percent of all the wealth.

Graph/Table of the week


From The Economist. It shows how during the last decade and a half developing countries have been growing faster than advanced ones. I would certainly take with a grain of salt some parts of The Economist explanation for this mini-Golden Age (15 Glorious Years is a pun with how the French refer to the Golden Age, the 30 Glorious Years), in particular when they suggest that: “the introduction of market reforms deserves much of the credit for better performance in some countries than in others.” But they are correct that rapid growth in China, higher commodity prices, low rates of interest in advanced economies, and higher volume of trade have played a role in convergence. What The Economist does not say about the increase in trade is that a good part has been South-South trade, which has gone from being about 10% to closer to 30% of total global trade (see here).