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Understanding 100 Years of the Evolution of Top Wealth Shares in the U.S.: What is the Role of Family Firms?
We use a simple random growth model to study the role of changing dynamics of family firms in shaping the evolution of top wealth shares in the United States over the course of the past century. Our model generates a time path for top wealth shares. The path is remarkably similar to those found by Saez and Zucman (2016) and Gomez (2019) when the volatility of idiosyncratic shocks to the value of family firms is similar to that found for public firms by Herskovic, Kelly, Lustig, and Van Nieuwerburgh (2016). We also show that consideration of family firms contributes not only to overall wealth ...