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The Distribution of Top Incomes in New Zealand

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  • A. B. Atkinson
  • Andrew Leigh

Abstract

Using taxation statistics, we estimate the income share held by top income groups in New Zealand over the period 1921-2002. We find that the income share of the richest fell during the 1930s, rose again after World War II, and steadily declined from the late-1950s until the mid-1980s. From the mid-1980s until the mid-1990s, top income shares rose rapidly. We also estimate shares-within-shares, and find that the income share of the super-rich as a share of the rich followed a similar trajectory, rising sharply over the past quarter-century. Throughout the twentieth century, top income shares in New Zealand followed a very similar pattern to top income shares in Australia. We speculate that the reduction in top marginal tax rates, the deregulation of the economy, and the internationalisation of the market for English-speaking CEOs may have contributed to the recent rise in top income shares.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 503.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:503

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Keywords: Inequality; New Zealand;

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References

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  1. Emmanuel Saez & Michael R. Veall, 2003. "The Evolution of High Incomes in Canada, 1920-2000," NBER Working Papers 9607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alex Bakker & John Creedy, 1999. "Macroeconomic variables and income inequality in New Zealand: An exploration using conditional mixture distributions," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 59-79.
  3. A. B. Atkinson, 2005. "Top incomes in the UK over the 20th century," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 168(2), pages 325-343.
  4. Dean R. Hyslop & David C. Maré, 2005. "Understanding New Zealand's Changing Income Distribution, 1983-1998: A Semi-parametric Analysis," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(3), pages 469-495, 08.
  5. 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.
  6. Rankin, Keith, 1992. "New Zealand's Gross National Product: 1859-1939," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 38(1), pages 49-69, March.
  7. Lewis Evans & Arthur Grimes & Bryce Wilkinson, 1996. "Economic Reform in New Zealand 1984-95: The Pursuit of Efficiency," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1856-1902, December.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Chart of the day, growing the pie so there’s more for all edition
    by danylmc in The Dim-Post on 2011-06-06 18:24:33
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Cited by:
  1. Dan Andrews & Christopher Jencks & Andrew Leigh, 2009. "Do Rising Top Incomes Lift All Boats?," CAMA Working Papers 2009-17, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  2. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00586795 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Roine, Jesper & Waldenström, Daniel, 2006. "The Evolution of Top Incomes in an Egalitarian Society: Sweden, 1903–2004," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 625, Stockholm School of Economics.
  4. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00588318 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Andrew Leigh, 2007. "How Closely Do Top Income Shares Track Other Measures of Inequality?," CEPR Discussion Papers 562, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  6. Waldenström, Daniel & Ohlsson, Henry & Roine, Jesper, 2007. "Long-Run Changes in the Concentration of Wealth: An Overview of Recent Findings," Working Paper Series 699, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  7. Claudia Sanhueza & Ricardo Mayer, 2011. "Top Incomes in Chile using 50 years of household surveys : 1957-2007," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 38(1 Year 20), pages 169-193, June.
  8. Jordi Guilera Rafecas, 2008. "Top income shares in Portugal over the twentieth century," Working Papers in Economics 195, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
  9. Salvatore Morelli & Timothy Smeeding & Jeffrey Thompson, 2014. "Post-1970 Trends in Within-Country Inequality and Poverty: Rich and Middle Income Countries," CSEF Working Papers 356, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.

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