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Completing the Bathtub?: The Development of Top Incomes in Germany, 1907-2007

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  • Christina Anselmann
  • Hagen M. Krämer
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    Abstract

    This paper examines the evolution of top incomes in Germany from 1907-2007 with a special focus on past decades. A more detailed analysis of German top incomes is conducted, beginning with a review of selected income distribution measures which indicate that high incomes have played a significant role for income divergence in recent years. Based on newdata it is shown that top income shares have indeed increased substantially in the recent past, a process which is mainly due to a relative rise in employment rather than capital income within the top income groups. Finally, some theories explaining high incomes of the "working rich" are discussed.

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    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.402879.de/diw_sp0451.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) in its series SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research with number 451.

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    Length: 43 p.
    Date of creation: 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp451

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    Keywords: Top income shares; income dispersion; executive compensation;

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    1. Lucian Arye Bebchuk & Jesse M. Fried, 2003. "Executive Compensation as an Agency Problem," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 71-92, Summer.
    2. Atkinson, A. B. & Piketty, Thomas (ed.), 2010. "Top Incomes: A Global Perspective," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286898.
    3. A. B. Atkinson, 2001. "A Critique of the Transatlantic Consensus on Rising Income Inequality," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(4), pages 433-452, 04.
    4. Johannes Schwarze, 1998. "Der Einfluß alternativer Konzeptionen von Alterssicherungssystemen auf Sicherungsniveau, Altersarmut und Einkommensverteilung: ein Vergleich zwischen Deutschland und den USA," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 160, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    5. 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, May.
    6. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Stefan Bach & Giacomo Corneo & Viktor Steiner, 2013. "Effective Taxation of Top Incomes in Germany," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 14(2), pages 115-137, 05.
    8. Emmanuel Saez, 2005. "Top Incomes in the United States and Canada Over the Twentieth Century," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 402-411, 04/05.
    9. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
    10. Markus M. Grabka & Joachim R. Frick, 2008. "Schrumpfende Mittelschicht: Anzeichen einer dauerhaften Polarisierung der verfügbaren Einkommen?," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 75(10), pages 101-108.
    11. Bebchuk, Lucian A. & Fried, Jesse M., 2003. "Executive Compensation as an Agency Problem," Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics, Working Paper Series qt81q3136r, Berkeley Olin Program in Law & Economics.
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