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How Closely Do Top Income Shares Track Other Measures of Inequality?

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  • Andrew Leigh

Abstract

In recent years, researchers have used taxation statistics to estimate the share of total income held by the richest groups, such as the top 10% or the top 1%. Compiling a standardised top income shares dataset for 13 developed countries, I find that there is a strong and significant relationship between top income shares and broader inequality measures, such as the Gini coefficient. This suggests that panel data on top income shares may be a useful substitute for other measures of inequality over periods when alternative income distribution measures are of low quality, or unavailable. Copyright 2007 The Author(s). Journal compilation Royal Economic Society 2007.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Leigh, 2007. "How Closely Do Top Income Shares Track Other Measures of Inequality?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(524), pages 619-633, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:117:y:2007:i:524:p:f619-f633
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    1. Atkinson, Tony & Leigh, Andrew, 2010. "The Distribution of Top Incomes in Five Anglo-Saxon Countries over the Twentieth Century," IZA Discussion Papers 4937, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
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    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative

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