The Limited Role of Market Power in Generating Great Fortunes in Great Britain, the United States, and Australia

Studies of the largest contemporary fortunes in Great Britain, the United States, and Australia each find that over two-thirds of the fortunes originated in competitive industries. A finding that market power is responsible for only one-third of the wealth of the wealthiest individuals is consistent with earlier research. Great fortunes can arise from competitive industries because of risk and uncertainty, infra-marginal (Ricardian) rents, and disequilibrium.