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Top Earners: Cross-Country Facts

Author

Listed:
  • Badel, Alejandro

    () (Georgetown University)

  • Daly, Moira

    () (Copenhagen Business School)

  • Huggett, Mark

    () (Georgetown University)

  • Nybom, Martin

    () (Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy)

Abstract

We provide a common set of life cycle earnings statistics based on administrative data from the United States, Canada, Denmark, and Sweden. We find three qualitative patterns, which are common across countries. First, top-earnings inequality increases over the working lifetime. Second, the extreme right tail of the earnings distribution becomes thicker with age over the working lifetime. Third, top lifetime earners exhibit dramatic earnings growth over their working lifetime. Models of top earners should account for these three patterns and, importantly, for how they quantitatively differ across countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Badel, Alejandro & Daly, Moira & Huggett, Mark & Nybom, Martin, 2018. "Top Earners: Cross-Country Facts," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 100(3), pages 237-257.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:00104
    DOI: 10.20955/r.100.237-57
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    4. Roine, Jesper & Vlachos, Jonas & Waldenström, Daniel, 2009. "The long-run determinants of inequality: What can we learn from top income data?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 974-988, August.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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