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The long-run history of income inequality in Denmark: Top incomes from 1870 to 2010

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Author Info

  • A. B. Atkinson

    (Nuffield College, Oxford and Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School)

  • J. E. Søgaard

    (University of Copenhagen and the Danish Ministry of Finance)

Abstract

We use historical publications and – for more recent years – micro-data from the income tax and wealth tax returns to estimate the development in income inequality in Denmark over the last 140 years. The paper breaks new ground in treating the specific features of the Danish Tax system and in analysing the implications of the switch from joint to individual taxation. We show that income inequality have declined substantially over the last century with an income share for the top 1 per cent dropping from 27.6 per cent from its peak in 1917 to 6.4 in 2010. However the decline is not simply a secular downward trend consistent with the downward part of a Kuznets curve. Instead there seems to be several distinct phases, interleaved with periods of stability.

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File URL: http://web.econ.ku.dk/eprn_epru/Workings_Papers/WP-13-01.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series EPRU Working Paper Series with number 2013-01.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:13-01

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Postal: Øster Farimagsgade 5, Building 26, DK-1353 Copenhagen K., Denmark
Phone: (+45) 3532 4411
Fax: +45 35 32 30 00
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Web page: http://www.econ.ku.dk/epru/
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Related research

Keywords: Income inequality; Income distribution; Wealth distribution; Top incomes; Taxation; Denmark;

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References

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  1. Thomas Piketty, 2003. "Income Inequality in France, 1901-1998," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(5), pages 1004-1042, October.
  2. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2011. "Optimal Taxation of Top Labor Incomes: A Tale of Three Elasticities," NBER Working Papers 17616, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Pinje, Jori Veng & Boserup, Simon Halphen, 2011. "Tax evasion, information reporting, and the regressive bias hypothesis," MPRA Paper 28406, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. 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.
  5. Alvaredo, Facundo & Saez, Emmanuel, 2006. "Income and Wealth Concentration in Spain in a Historical and Fiscal Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 5836, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. 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.
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As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. The long-run history of income inequality in Denmark: Top incomes from 1870 to 2010
    by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2013-03-04 12:48:11
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Cited by:
  1. Christoph Schinke, 2014. "Government Ideology, Globalization, and Top Income Shares in OECD Countries," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 181, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.

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