Wealth (economics)

In economics and business, wealth of a person or nation is the value of assets owned net of liabilities owed (to foreigners in the case of a nation) at a point in time. The assets include those that are tangible (land and capital) and "financial" (money, bonds, etc.). Wealth may be measured in nominal or real values. Measurable wealth typically excludes intangible or nonmarketable assets such as human capital and social capital. In economics, 'wealth' corresponds to the accounting term 'net worth'. But analysis may adapt typical accounting conventions for economic purposes in social accounting (such as in national accounts). An example of the latter is generational accounting of social security systems to include the present value projected future outlays considered as liabilities.

Economic terminology distinguishes between two types of variables: a stock and a flow. Wealth, as measurable "at a date" in time, is a "stock", like the value of an orchard on December 31 minus debt owed on the orchard. For a given amount of wealth, say at the beginning of the year, income from that wealth, as measurable "over" say a year is a "flow". What marks the income as a flow is its measurement per unit of time, like the value of apples yielded from the orchard per year.

ee also

* Distribution (economics)
* Distribution of wealth
* Income, including section Meaning in economics and use in economic theory|
* National accounts
* Wealth effect
* Wealth elasticity of demand


* Robert J. Barro (1974). "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," "Journal of Political Economy", 8(6), p [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0022-3808%28197411%2F12%2982%3A6%3C1095%3AAGBNW%3E2.0.CO%3B2-1&size=LARGE&origin=JSTOR-enlargePage p. 1095-] 111.
* John Bates Clark (1902). "The Distribution of Wealth" [http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=ihivl3D7TOcC&oi=fnd&pg=RA1-PR13&dq=Clark++Distribution+&ots=gys5EhM82D&sig=S425YxymAlqFGt9z5jCQ_6sV9q0 (analytical Table of Contents).]
* Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1987, “social security," "The ", v. 4, pp. 413-18. Stockton Press.
* _____, 1992, "Generational Accounting". Free Press.
* David S. Landes. (1998) "The Wealth and Poverty of Nations". [http://books.google.com/books?id=1uq_qZe__rcC&pg=PP1&dq=wealth+landes&sig=HHj6i4QAj_NzlCgcxueoFUJtCic Book preview.]
*Nancy D. Ruggles (1987). "social accounting," "The New Palgrave: A Dictionary of Economics", v. 3, pp. 377-82, esp. p. 380.
* Paul A. Samuelson and William D. Nordhaus (2004, 18th ed.). "Economics", "Glossary of Terms."
* Adam Smith (1776). "The Wealth of Nations".
* Partha Dasgupta (1993). "An Inquiry into Well-Being and Destitution". ( [http://www.oup.com/uk/catalogue/?ci=9780198288350 Pub. description] )

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