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Income and Wealth Concentration in Switzerland Over the 20th Century

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  • Dell, Fabien
  • Piketty, Thomas
  • Saez, Emmanuel

Abstract

This paper presents homogeneous series on top shares of income and wealth in Switzerland since 1913 using personal income and wealth tax return statistics. In contrast to other countries such as Canada, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands or the United States, top income and wealth shares in Switzerland are strikingly flat over the century, and display no secular downtrend from the early part of the century to the post-World War II period. Switzerland hardly ever implemented a very progressive income and wealth tax structure and top income and wealth tax rates have been very low relative to other developed countries. Therefore, our findings for Switzerland lead much credence to the view that the development of very progressive taxation is the central factor explaining the sustained decline in wealth and income concentration in countries such as Canada, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, or the United States.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5090.

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Date of creation: May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5090

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Keywords: income inequality; taxation; wealth inequality;

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References

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  1. Peter H. Lindert, . "Three Centuries Of Inequality In Britain And America," Department of Economics 97-09, California Davis - Department of Economics.
  2. Simon Kuznets & Elizabeth Jenks, 1953. "Shares of Upper Income Groups in Income and Savings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn53-1.
  3. Emmanuel Saez & Michael R. Veall, 2005. "The Evolution of High Incomes in Northern America: Lessons from Canadian Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 831-849, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Roine, Jesper & Waldenström, Daniel, 2006. "The Evolution of Top Incomes in an Egalitarian Society; Sweden, 1903–2004," Working Paper Series 667, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  2. Ohlsson, Henry & Roine, Jesper & Waldenstrom, Daniel, 2006. "Long-Run Changes in the Concentration of Wealth: An Overview of Recent Findings," Working Paper Series RP2006/103, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  3. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2006. "The Evolution of Top Incomes: A Historical and International Perspective," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 200-205, May.
  4. Roine, Jesper & Waldenström, Daniel, 2009. "Common Trends and Shocks to Top Incomes – A Structural Breaks Approach," Working Paper Series 801, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  5. James B. Davies & Susanna Sandstrom & Anthony Shorrocks & Edward N. Wolff, 2009. "The Level and Distribution of Global Household Wealth," University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute Working Papers 20091, University of Western Ontario, Economic Policy Research Institute.
  6. Aidt, Toke S. & Jensen, Peter S., 2009. "The taxman tools up: An event history study of the introduction of the personal income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 160-175, February.
  7. 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.
  8. Emmanuel Saez, 2004. "Reported Incomes and Marginal Tax Rates, 1960-2000: Evidence and Policy Implications," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 18, pages 117-174 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Ross Finnie & Ian Irvine, 2006. "Mobility and Gender at the Top Tail of the Earnings Distribution," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 37(2), pages 149-173.
  10. José Mª Durán Cabré & Alejandro Esteller Moré, 2007. "An empirical analysis of wealth taxation: Equity Vs.tax compliance," Working Papers XREAP2007-03, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Jun 2007.
  11. Roine, Jesper & Vlachos, Jonas & Waldenström, Daniel, 2007. "What Determines Top Income Shares? Evidence from the Twentieth Century," Research Papers in Economics 2007:17, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.

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