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Recent Trends in Top Income Shares in the United States: Reconciling Estimates from March CPS and IRS Tax Return Data

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Author Info

  • Richard V. Burkhauser

    (Cornell University and University of Melbourne)

  • Shuaizhang Feng

    (Shanghai University of Finance and Economics)

  • Stephen P. Jenkins

    (University of Essex)

  • Jeff Larrimore

    (U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation)

Abstract

Although most U.S. income inequality research is based on public use March CPS data, a new wave of research using IRS tax return data reports substantially faster inequality growth for recent years. We show that these apparently inconsistent estimates are largely reconciled when the income distribution and inequality are defined the same way. Using internal CPS data for 1967 to 2006, we show that CPS-based estimates of top income shares are similar to IRS data-based estimates reported by Piketty and Saez (2003). Our results imply that income inequality changes since 1993 are largely driven by changes in incomes of the top 1%. © 2012 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/REST_a_00200
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 94 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 371-388

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:94:y:2012:i:2:p:371-388

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Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/

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Related research

Keywords: top income shares; income inequality; March CPS; IRS tax return data;

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Cited by:
  1. Facundo Alvaredo & Leonardo Gasparini, 2013. "Recent Trends in Inequality and Poverty in Developing Countries," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0151, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  2. Philip Armour & Richard V. Burkhauser & Jeff Larrimore, 2013. "Deconstructing Income and Income Inequality Measures: A Crosswalk from Market Income to Comprehensive Income," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 173-77, May.
  3. Lakner, Christoph & Milanovic, Branko, 2013. "Global income distribution : from the fall of the Berlin Wall to the great recession," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6719, The World Bank.
  4. Michał Brzeziński, 2013. "Variance estimation for richness measures," Working Papers 2013-03, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
  5. Kitov, Ivan & Kitov, Oleg, 2013. "The dynamics of personal income distribution and inequality in the United States," MPRA Paper 48649, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Bargain, Olivier & Dolls, Mathias & Immervoll, Herwig & Neumann, Dirk & Peichl, Andreas & Pestel, Nico & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2014. "Tax policy and income inequality in the US, 1979-2007," ZEW Discussion Papers 14-001, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  7. Michał Brzeziński, 2013. "Parametric Modelling of Income Distribution in Central and Eastern Europe," Central European Journal of Economic Modelling and Econometrics, CEJEME, vol. 5(3), pages 207-230, September.
  8. Markus Schneider, 2013. "Illustrating the Implications of How Inequality is Measured: Decomposing Earnings Inequality by Race and Gender," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 34(4), pages 476-514, December.

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