IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Top Incomes in Germany and Switzerland Over the Twentieth Century

Listed author(s):
  • Fabien Dell

    (INSEE and Paris-Jourdan,)

Registered author(s):

    This paper presents new homogeneous series on top income shares in Germany (1891-1998) and Switzerland (1933-1995), using data from income tax returns. The general pattern is consistent with recent results for France: the secular decline in income inequality is for the most part an accidental, capital income phenomenon. Very top incomes were badly hurt by the major shocks of the 1914-1945 period and never fully recovered afterwards. Since 1945, top income shares have been relatively stable, with no rise during recent years (unlike in the U.S. The striking episode before WWII is how Nazi power brought top income shares to almost double within five years. The striking result after WWII is that German top incomes are more concentrated within the top decile than in other industrialized countries. Thus the German super-rich were richer than their American counterparts until the 1990s. This puzzle is related to the much lower inheritance tax rates observed in Germany since WWII. (JEL: N33, N34, H23, H24) Copyright (c) 2005 The European Economic Association.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

    Volume (Year): 3 (2005)
    Issue (Month): 2-3 (04/05)
    Pages: 412-421

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:3:y:2005:i:2-3:p:412-421
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:3:y:2005:i:2-3:p:412-421. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kristin Waites)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.