Summary of A Wealthless Recovery?

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A Wealthless Recovery? summary
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Disparities in US income distribution have garnered a lot of attention since the Great Recession, even though household wealth in the aggregate has surpassed its 2007 benchmark and continued its upward trajectory. Economists Lisa J. Dettling, Joanne W. Hsu and Elizabeth Llanes offer an informative look at why the top 10% of the population has seen its wealth recover, while the net worth of the bottom 90% has still not gotten back to precrisis levels. This accessible article will likely engage analysts, economists and those interested in inequality dynamics.

About the Authors

Lisa J. Dettling, Joanne W. Hsu and Elizabeth Llanes are economists with the Federal Reserve. 



Americans’ overall wealth sank a whopping 20% in the Great Recession, but it had more than recovered by 2012, with continuing gains through 2016. However, this aggregate growth glosses over the fact that the top 10% of the population, which owns 80% of US wealth, recovered much better than households in the bottom 90% did. Stratified analyses of the Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Consumer Finances provide a close-up view of how different population segments fared. The study examined the top 10% of earners and the bottom 90%. All groups lost wealth during...

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