Wealth inequality in Sweden 1750–1900

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Wealth inequality in Sweden 1750–1900. / Bengtsson, Erik; Missiaia, Anna; Olsson, Mats; Svensson, Patrick.

In: Economic History Review, Vol. 71, No. 3, 08.2018, p. 772-794.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Wealth inequality in Sweden 1750–1900

AU - Bengtsson, Erik

AU - Missiaia, Anna

AU - Olsson, Mats

AU - Svensson, Patrick

PY - 2018/8

Y1 - 2018/8

N2 - This article examines the evolution of wealth inequality in Sweden from 1750 to 1900, contributing both to the debate on early modern and modern inequality and to the general debate on the pattern of inequality during industrialization. The pre‐industrial period (1750–1850) is for the first time examined for Sweden at the national level. The study uses a random sample of probate inventories from urban and rural areas across the country, adjusted for age and social class. Estimates are provided for the years 1750, 1800, 1850, and 1900. The results show a gradual growth in inequality as early as the mid‐eighteenth century, with the sharpest rise in the late nineteenth century. Whereas the early growth in inequality was connected to changes in the countryside and in agriculture, the later growth was related to industrialization encompassing both compositional effects and strong wealth accumulation among the richest. The level of inequality in Sweden in 1750 was lower than for other western European countries, but by 1900 Sweden was just as unequal.

AB - This article examines the evolution of wealth inequality in Sweden from 1750 to 1900, contributing both to the debate on early modern and modern inequality and to the general debate on the pattern of inequality during industrialization. The pre‐industrial period (1750–1850) is for the first time examined for Sweden at the national level. The study uses a random sample of probate inventories from urban and rural areas across the country, adjusted for age and social class. Estimates are provided for the years 1750, 1800, 1850, and 1900. The results show a gradual growth in inequality as early as the mid‐eighteenth century, with the sharpest rise in the late nineteenth century. Whereas the early growth in inequality was connected to changes in the countryside and in agriculture, the later growth was related to industrialization encompassing both compositional effects and strong wealth accumulation among the richest. The level of inequality in Sweden in 1750 was lower than for other western European countries, but by 1900 Sweden was just as unequal.

U2 - 10.1111/ehr.12576

DO - 10.1111/ehr.12576

M3 - Article

VL - 71

SP - 772

EP - 794

JO - Economic History Review

JF - Economic History Review

SN - 1468-0289

IS - 3

ER -