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How Closely Do Top Income Shares Track Other Measures of Inequality?

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  • Andrew Leigh

Abstract

In recent years, researchers have used taxation statistics to estimate the share of total income held by the richest groups, such as the top 10% or the top 1%. Compiling a standardised top income shares dataset for thirteen developed countries, I find that there is a strong and significant relationship between top income shares and broader inequality measures, such as the gini coefficient. This suggests that panel data on top income shares may be a useful substitute for other measures of inequality over periods when alternative income distribution measures are of low quality, or unavailable

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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 562.

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Date of creation: Oct 2007
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Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:562

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Keywords: inequality; income distribution; top incomes; panel data;

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  1. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality In The United States, 1913-1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-39, February.
  2. Anthony B. Atkinson & Andrew Leigh, 2007. "The Distribution of Top Incomes in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 83(262), pages 247-261, 09.
  3. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2006. "The Evolution of Top Incomes: A Historical and International Perspective," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 200-205, May.
  4. Chiaki Moriguchi & Emmanuel Saez, 2006. "The Evolution of Income Concentration in Japan, 1886-2002: Evidence from Income Tax Statistics," NBER Working Papers 12558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-91, September.
  6. Thomas Piketty, 2003. "Income Inequality in France, 1901-1998," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(5), pages 1004-1042, October.
  7. Atkinson, Anthony B. & Leigh, Andrew, 2010. "The Distribution of Top Incomes in Five Anglo-Saxon Countries over the Twentieth Century," IZA Discussion Papers 4937, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Anthony B. Atkinson & Wiemer Salverda, 2005. "Top Incomes In The Netherlands And The United Kingdom Over The 20th Century," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 3(4), pages 883-913, 06.
  9. Facundo Alvaredo & Emmanuel Saez, 2007. "Income and wealth concentration in Spain in a historical and fiscal perspective," PSE Working Papers halshs-00587714, HAL.
  10. Anthony B. Atkinson, 2005. "Comparing the Distribution of Top Incomes Across Countries," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 393-401, 04/05.
  11. Andrew Leigh & Pierre van der Eng, 2007. "Top Incomes in Indonesia, 1920-2004," CEPR Discussion Papers, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University 549, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  12. A. B. Atkinson & Andrew Leigh, 2005. "The Distribution of Top Incomes in New Zealand," CEPR Discussion Papers, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University 503, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  13. Geoffrey Gilbert, 1997. "Adam Smith on the Nature and Causes of Poverty," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(3), pages 273-291.
  14. Fabien Dell, 2005. "Top Incomes in Germany and Switzerland Over the Twentieth Century," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 412-421, 04/05.
  15. Andrea Brandolini & Anthony B. Atkinson, 2001. "Promise and Pitfalls in the Use of "Secondary" Data-Sets: Income Inequality in OECD Countries As a Case Study," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 771-799, September.
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