Foreign income and assets in comparative perspective: highlights from the World Inequality Database Issue Brief 2018/1
Amory Gethin

Who are the world’s main foreign assets holders today? And who benefits from income transfers between countries? This issue brief exploits estimates available from the World Inequality Database to document international patterns of income transfers and foreign assets ownerships.


In spite of the United States owing the equivalent of 10% of global income to the rest of the world today, US adult citizens receive on average €750 per year from abroad. The situation is the opposite in China: while the world’s biggest developing economy has been accumulating reserves sufficient to buy the entire wealth of Denmark and the Czech Republic combined, its net foreign income position remains significantly negative.