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Sebastian Leitner

This paper investigates the sources of inequality in household gross and net wealth across eight euro area countries applying the Shapley value approach to decomposition. The research draws on micro data from the Eurosystem Household Finance and Consumption Survey 2010. Dispersion in bequests and inter vivos transfers obtained by households are found to have a remarkable effect on wealth inequality that is stronger than that of income differences. In Austria, Germany and Cyprus the contribution of real and financial assets inherited or received as gifts to gross and net wealth inequality attains about 40 per cent. Nevertheless, the distribution of household characteristics (age, education, size, number of adults and children in the household, marital status) within countries also shapes the observed wealth dispersion.

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Sebastian Leitner and Mario Holzner

The article analyses the issue of economic inequality in the transition economies of Central, East and Southeast Europe. It consists of a literature review and a descriptive analysis as well as an econometric modelling exercise. In the first part we point at the fact that the rise in income inequality was triggered by the magnitude of transitional output loss and a reduction of formal employment. Rising wage inequality was at the core of total income dispersion, while government transfers had a redistributional function only in Central and Southeast European countries contrary to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In the econometric analysis it is found that for instance public utilities infrastructure liberalisation has increased inequality in transition, while price and trade liberalisation has decreased it. A high share of employment in industry and high government expenditures are connected with less inequality.

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Peter Havlik, Sebastian Leitner and Robert Stehrer