The Top 1 Percent in International and Historical Perspective
AbstractThe top 1 percent income share has more than doubled in the United States over the last 30 years, drawing much public attention in recent years. While other English-speaking countries have also experienced sharp increases in the top 1 percent income share, many high-income countries such as Japan, France, or Germany have seen much less increase in top income shares. Hence, the explanation cannot rely solely on forces common to advanced countries, such as the impact of new technologies and globalization on the supply and demand for skills. Moreover, the explanations have to accommodate the falls in top income shares earlier in the twentieth century experienced in virtually all high-income countries. We highlight four main factors. The first is the impact of tax policy, which has varied over time and differs across countries. Top tax rates have moved in the opposite direction from top income shares. The effects of top rate cuts can operate in conjunction with other mechanisms. The second factor is a richer view of the labor market, where we contrast the standard supply-side model with one where pay is determined by bargaining and the reactions to top rate cuts may lead simply to a redistribution of surplus. Indeed, top rate cuts may lead managerial energies to be diverted to increasing their remuneration at the expense of enterprise growth and employment. The third factor is capital income. Overall, private wealth (relative to income) has followed a U-shaped path over time, particularly in Europe, where inherited wealth is, in Europe if not in the United States, making a return. The fourth, little investigated, element is the correlation between earned income and capital income, which has substantially increased in recent decades in the United States.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.
Volume (Year): 27 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Other versions of this item:
- Facundo Alvaredo & Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2013. "The Top 1 Percent in International and Historical Perspective," NBER Working Papers 19075, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
- F66 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Labor
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Camille Landais & Esben Schultz, 2013.
"Migration and Wage Effects of Taxing Top Earners: Evidence from the Foreigners' Tax Scheme in Denmark,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 333-378.
- Kleven, Henrik & Landais, Camille & Saez, Emmanuel & Schultz, Esben, 2013. "Migration and Wage Effects of Taxing Top Earners: Evidence from the Foreigners' Tax Scheme in Denmark," CEPR Discussion Papers 9410, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Camille Landais & Emmanuel Saez & Esben Anton Schultz, 2013. "Migration and Wage Effects of Taxing Top Earners: Evidence from the Foreigners' Tax Scheme in Denmark," NBER Working Papers 18885, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
- Martin Feldstein, 1993.
"The Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Taxable Income: A Panel Study of the1986 Tax Reform Act,"
NBER Working Papers
4496, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "The Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Taxable Income: A Panel Study of the 1986 Tax Reform Act," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 551-72, June.
- Piketty, Thomas, 2010.
"On the Long Run Evolution of Inheritance - France 1820-2050,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
7854, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Thomas Piketty, 2011. "On the Long-Run Evolution of Inheritance: France 1820--2050," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1071-1131.
- Thomas Piketty, 2010. "On the long-run evolution of inheritance: France 1820-2050," PSE Working Papers halshs-00564853, HAL.
- Wolff, Edward N. & Gittleman, Maury, 2011.
"Inheritances and the distribution of wealth or whatever happened to the great inheritance boom?,"
Working Paper Series
1300, European Central Bank.
- Edward N. Wolff & Maury Gittleman, 2011. "Inheritances and the Distribution of Wealth Or Whatever Happened to the Great Inheritance Boom?," BCL working papers 55, Central Bank of Luxembourg.
- Edward N. Wolff & Maury Gittleman, 2011. "Inheritances and the Distribution of Wealth Or Whatever Happened to the Great Inheritance Boom?," Working Papers 445, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Atkinson, A B, 2008. "The Changing Distribution of Earnings in OECD Countries," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199532438, September.
- Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Taxable Income: A Panel Study of the 1986 Tax Reform Act," Scholarly Articles 2766676, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Kopczuk, Wojciech & Saez, Emmanuel, 2004.
"Top Wealth Shares in the United States, 1916-2000: Evidence from Estate Tax Returns,"
National Tax Journal,
National Tax Association, vol. 57(2), pages 445-87, June.
- Wojciech Kopczuk & Emmanuel Saez, 2004. "Top Wealth Shares in the United States: 1916-2000: Evidence from Estate Tax Returns," NBER Working Papers 10399, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Peter A. Diamond & Emmanuel Saez, 2011.
"The Case for a Progressive Tax: From Basic Research to Policy Recommendations,"
CESifo Working Paper Series
3548, CESifo Group Munich.
- Peter Diamond & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "The Case for a Progressive Tax: From Basic Research to Policy Recommendations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 165-90, Fall.
- Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality In The United States, 1913-1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-39, February.
- Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011.
"Top Incomes in the Long Run of History,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
- Anthony B. Atkinson, 2012. "The Mirrlees Review and the State of Public Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(3), pages 770-80, September.
- Christoph Schinke, 2012. "Inheritance in Germany 1911 to 2009: A Mortality Multiplier Approach," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 462, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
- Piketty, Thomas & Zucman, Gabriel, 2013. "Capital is Back: Wealth-Income Ratios in Rich Countries, 1700-2010," CEPR Discussion Papers 9588, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Godar, Sarah & Paetz, Christoph & Truger, Achim, 2014. "Progressive tax reform in OECD countries : perspectives and obstacles," ILO Working Papers 485510, International Labour Organization.
- Raymundo M. Campos-Vazquez & Emmanuel Chavez & Gerardo Esquivel, 2013.
"Growth is (really) good for the (really) rich,"
Serie documentos de trabajo del Centro de Estudios EconÃ³micos
2013-09, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos.
- De Donder, Philippe & Roemer, John E, 2013.
"An allegory of the political influence of the top 1%,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
9745, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- De Donder, Philippe & Roemer, John, 2013. "An allegory of the political influence of the top 1%," IDEI Working Papers 812, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
- Philippe De Donder & John E. Roemer, 2013. "An Allegory of the Political Influence of the Top 1%," CESifo Working Paper Series 4478, CESifo Group Munich.
- De Donder, Philippe & Roemer, John, 2013. "An allegory of the political influence of the top 1%," TSE Working Papers 13-455, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
- Salvatore Morelli, 2014. "Banking Crises in the US: the Response of Top Income Shares in a Historical Perspective," CSEF Working Papers 359, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
- European Commission, 2013. "Tax reforms in EU Member States - Tax policy challenges for economic growth and fiscal sustainability – 2013 Report," Taxation Papers 38, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
- Marcin Kacperczyk & Jaromir B. Nosal & Luminita Stevens, 2014. "Investor Sophistication and Capital Income Inequality," NBER Working Papers 20246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Salverda, Wiemer & Checchi, Daniele, 2014. "Labour-Market Institutions and the Dispersion of Wage Earnings," IZA Discussion Papers 8220, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- John Foster & William Paul Bell & Phil Wild & Deepak Sharma & Suwin Sandu & Craig Froome & Liam Wagner & Suchi Misra & Ravindra Bagia, 2013.
"Analysis of institutional adaptability to redress electricity infrastructure vulnerability due to climate change,"
Energy Economics and Management Group Working Papers
6-2013, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
- Foster, John & Bell, William Paul & Wild, Phillip & Sharma, Deepak & Sandu, Suwin & Froome, Craig & Wagner, Liam & Misra, Suchi & Bagia, Ravindra, 2013. "Analysis of institutional adaptability to redress electricity infrastructure vulnerability due to climate change," MPRA Paper 47787, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Kohler, Pierre, 2014. "Asset-Centred Redistributive Policies for Sustainable Development," MPRA Paper 55357, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Paul Eckerstorfer & Johannes Halak & Jakob Kapeller & Bernhard Schütz & Florian Springholz & Rafael Wildauer, 2014. "Correcting wealth survey data for the missing rich: The case of Austria," Economics working papers 2014-01, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
- Jon D. Wisman & Aaron Pacitti, 2013. "Ending the Crisis With Guaranteed Employment and Retraining," Working Papers 2013-12, American University, Department of Economics.
- Pirmin Fessler & Martin Schürz, 2013. "Cross-Country Comparability of the Eurosystem Household Finance and Consumption Survey," Monetary Policy & the Economy, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue 2, pages 29â50.
- Herr, Hansjörg & Ruoff, Bea, 2014. "Wage dispersion : empirical developments, explanations, and reform options," ILO Working Papers 485325, International Labour Organization.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros) or (Michael P. Albert).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.