This paper provides historical series on the evolution of the share of inherited wealth in aggregate private wealth in Europe (France, U.K., Germany, Sweden) and the United States over the 1900-2010 period. Until 1910, the inheritance share was very high in Europe (70-80%). It then fell abruptly following the 1914-1945 shocks, down to about 30-40% during the 1950-1980 period, and it back to 50-60% around 2010 (and rising). The U.S. pattern also appears to be U-shaped, albeit less marked, and with significant uncertainty regarding recent trends, due to data limitations. The authors discuss possible interpretations for these long run patterns.
Alvaredo, F.; Garbinti, B.; Piketty, T. On the share of inheritance in aggregate wealth Europe and the United States, 1900-2010. (2015) 32 pp.