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Growth is (really) good for the (really) rich

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  • Raymundo M. Campos-Vazquez

    ()
    (El Colegio de Mexico)

  • Emmanuel Chavez

    ()
    (Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público)

  • Gerardo Esquivel

    ()
    (El Colegio de Mexico)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the relationship between mean income and the income of the rich. Our methodology closely follows that of Dollar and Kraay (2002), but instead of looking at the bottom of the distribution, we analyze the top. We use panel data from the World Top Incomes database, which collects top income data from several countries using tax returns as the raw source. We define the “rich” as earners in the top 10 percent, 1 percent, 0.1 percent, and 0.01 percent of the income distribution. We find that economic growth is good for the rich in the sense that the mean income of the top decile of the distribution grows in the same proportion as that of the whole population. However, we also find that the income of earners in the top percentile of the distribution and above grows in an even larger proportion than average income: that is, economic growth is really good for the really rich. We also find that during economic downturns, the average income of top earners responds proportionally less to changes in mean income than during economic expansions. Our results are robust to different sample specifications.

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File URL: http://cee.colmex.mx/documentos/documentos-de-trabajo/2013/dt20139.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos in its series Serie documentos de trabajo del Centro de Estudios Económicos with number 2013-09.

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Date of creation: Sep 2013
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Handle: RePEc:emx:ceedoc:2013-09

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Web page: http://www.colmex.mx/centros/cee/
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Keywords: growth; income distribution; inequality; top income; rich;

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  1. James Poterba, 1993. "Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 7," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number pote93-1, October.
  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. Corak, Miles, 2013. "Income Inequality, Equality of Opportunity, and Intergenerational Mobility," IZA Discussion Papers 7520, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2014. "Optimal Taxation of Top Labor Incomes: A Tale of Three Elasticities," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 230-71, February.
  5. Dan Andrews & Christopher Jencks & Andrew Leigh, 2010. "Do Rising Top Incomes Lift All Boats?," CEPR Discussion Papers 641, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  6. 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.
  7. James E. Foster & Miguel Székely, 2001. "Is Economic Growth Good for the Poor? Tracking Low Incomes Using General Means," Research Department Publications 4269, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  8. Facundo Alvaredo & Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2013. "The Top 1 Percent in International and Historical Perspective," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 3-20, Summer.
  9. A.B. Atkinson & Andrew Leigh, 2006. "The Distribution of Top Incomes in Australia," CEPR Discussion Papers 514, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  10. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality In The United States, 1913-1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-39, February.
  11. Malte Lübker & Graham Smith & John Weeks, 2002. "Growth and the poor: a comment on Dollar and Kraay," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(5), pages 555-571.
  12. Saez, Emmanuel, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 205-29, January.
  13. Piketty, Thomas & Zucman, Gabriel, 2013. "Capital is Back: Wealth-Income Ratios in Rich Countries, 1700-2010," CEPR Discussion Papers 9588, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Richard V. Burkhauser & Markus H. Hahn & Roger Wilkins, 2013. "Measuring Top Incomes Using Tax Record Data: A Cautionary Tale from Australia," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2013n24, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  15. Josh Bivens & Lawrence Mishel, 2013. "The Pay of Corporate Executives and Financial Professionals as Evidence of Rents in Top 1 Percent Incomes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 57-78, Summer.
  16. Austan Goolsbee, 1999. "Evidence on the High-Income Laffer Curve from Six Decades of Tax Reform," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 30(2), pages 1-64.
  17. 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, October.
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