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Top Incomes In New Zealand 1921-2005: Understanding The Effects Of Marginal Tax Rates, Migration Threat, And The Macroeconomy


  • A. B. Atkinson
  • Andrew Leigh


Using taxation statistics, we estimate the income share held by top income groups in New Zealand over the period 1921-2005. We find that the income share of the richest fell during the 1930s, rose again after the Second World War, and steadily declined from the late-1950s until the mid-1980s. From the mid-1980s until the mid-1990s, top income shares rose rapidly, particularly at the very top of the distribution. We present evidence that top marginal tax rates and changing top income shares in Australia and the United Kingdom may have contributed to fluctuations in the income share of the richest 1 percent. Past economic growth does not seem to have a strong effect on the income share of the top percentile group. Copyright 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation International Association for Research in Income and Wealth 2008.

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  • A. B. Atkinson & Andrew Leigh, 2008. "Top Incomes In New Zealand 1921-2005: Understanding The Effects Of Marginal Tax Rates, Migration Threat, And The Macroeconomy," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 54(2), pages 149-165, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:54:y:2008:i:2:p:149-165

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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Hoeller & Isabelle Joumard & Mauro Pisu & Debra Bloch, 2012. "Less Income Inequality and More Growth – Are They Compatible? Part 1. Mapping Income Inequality Across the OECD," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 924, OECD Publishing.
    2. Peter Hoeller, 2012. "Less Income Inequality and More Growth – Are they Compatible? Part 4. Top Incomes," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 927, OECD Publishing.
    3. Frey, Christian & Schaltegger, Christoph A., 2016. "Progressive taxes and top income shares: A historical perspective on pre- and post-tax income concentration in Switzerland," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 5-9.
    4. Richard Burkhauser & Markus Hahn & Roger Wilkins, 2015. "Measuring top incomes using tax record data: a cautionary tale from Australia," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 13(2), pages 181-205, June.
    5. 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.
    6. Christoph Schinke, 2014. "Government Ideology, Globalization, and Top Income Shares in OECD Countries," ifo Working Paper Series 181, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    7. Iris Claus & John Creedy & Josh Teng, 2012. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income in New Zealand," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 33(3), pages 287-303, September.
    8. Emmanuel Saez & Joel Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2012. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 3-50, March.
    9. Alvaredo, Facundo & Atkinson, Anthony B, 2010. "Colonial Rule, Apartheid and Natural Resources: Top Incomes in South Africa, 1903-2007," CEPR Discussion Papers 8155, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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