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Effective Taxation of Top Incomes in Germany, 1992 - 2002

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  • Stefan Bach
  • Giacomo Corneo
  • Viktor Steiner

Abstract

We analyze the taxation of top personal incomes in Germany on the basis of an integrated data file of individual tax returns and a general household survey for the years 1992 - 2002. The unique feature of this integrated data set is that it includes all taxpayers in the top percentile of the gross income distribution. We show that despite substantial tax base erosion and significant reductions of top statutory marginal tax rates, German income taxation has remained effectively progressive. The distribution of the tax burden is highly concentrated, and the effective average income tax rate of the German economic elite - the top 0.001 quantile of the gross income distribution - is about 34 percent, which is well below the legislated tax rate.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.79344.de/dp767.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 767.

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Length: 25 p.
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in: German Economic Review 14 (2013) Iss. 2, 115-137
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp767

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Keywords: Personal Income Tax; Taxing the Rich; Effective Progressivity;

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References

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  1. Wagstaff, Adam & van Doorslaer, Eddy & van der Burg, Hattem & Calonge, Samuel & Christiansen, Terkel & Citoni, Guido & Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Gerfin, Michael & Gross, Lorna & Hakinnen, Unto, 1999. "Redistributive effect, progressivity and differential tax treatment: Personal income taxes in twelve OECD countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 73-98, April.
  2. Stefan Bach & Giacomo Corneo & Viktor Steiner, 2005. "Top Incomes and Top Taxes in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 532, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
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Cited by:
  1. Michal Myck & Richard Ochmann & Salmai Qari, 2009. "Dynamics of Earnings and Hourly Wages in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 929, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. 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.
  3. Martin Jacob & Rainer Niemann & Martin Weiss, 2008. "The Rich Demystified - A Reply to Bach, Corneo, and Steiner (2008)," CESifo Working Paper Series 2478, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Nadja Dwenger & Viktor Steiner, 2009. "Financial Leverage and Corporate Taxation: Evidence from German Corporate Tax Return Data," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 855, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

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