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Top Incomes and National Savings

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  • Andrew Leigh
  • Alberto Posso

Abstract

The relationship between income inequality and national savings is theoretically ambiguous, and past empirical studies have delivered mixed results. We revisit the question using a newly available source of data on inequality: the income share of the richest 10 percent and the richest 1 percent. Combining this with historical data on national savings rates, we are able to investigate the relationship for eleven developed countries over the period 1921-2002. We find no consistent relationship between lagged top income shares and current savings rates, and our standard errors are small enough that we are able to reject more than modest effects in either direction. We view this as suggesting that inequality at the top end of the distribution is not a major driver of national savings rates.

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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 588.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:588

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Keywords: national savings; inequality; top incomes; panel data;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Tuomas, Malinen, 2011. "Inequality and savings: a reassesment of the relationship in cointegrated panels," MPRA Paper 33350, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Jan Behringer & Till van Treeck, 2013. "Income distribution and current account: A sectoral perspective," IMK Working Paper 125-2013, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
  3. 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.
  4. Jan Behringer & Till van Treeck, 2013. "Income Distribution and the Current Account: A Sectoral Perspective," INET Research Notes 35, Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET).
  5. Tuomas Malinen, 2011. "Income Inequality and Savings: A Reassessment of the Relationship in Cointegrated Panels," DEGIT Conference Papers c016_076, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  6. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2009. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," NBER Working Papers 15408, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Christian A. Belabed & Thomas Theobald & Till van Treeck, 2013. "Income Distribution and Current Account Imbalances," IMK Working Paper 126-2013, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
  8. Roine, Jesper & Vlachos, Jonas & Waldenström, Daniel, 2009. "The long-run determinants of inequality: What can we learn from top income data?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 974-988, August.
  9. Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco & El-Attar, Mayssun, 2012. "Income Inequality and Saving," IZA Discussion Papers 7083, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Santo Milasi, 2012. "Top Income Shares and Budget Deficits," CEIS Research Paper 249, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 08 Aug 2013.

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