Most empirical macroeconomic research is limited to the period since World War II. This paper analyses the effects of changes in income distribution and in private wealth on consumption and investment covering a period from as early as 1855 through to 2010 for the UK, France, Germany and the USA, based on the data set of . We contribute to the study of wealth effects, of financialization, and of the nature of demand regimes. We find that overall domestic demand has been wage-led in the USA, the UK and Germany. Total investment responds positively to higher wage shares, which is driven by residential investment. For corporate investment alone, we find a negative relation. Wealth effects are found to be positive and significant for consumption in the USA and the UK, but weaker in France and Germany. Investment is negatively affected by private wealth in the USA and the UK, but positively in France and Germany.