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Top Incomes in Germany, 1871-2014

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  • Bartels, Charlotte

Abstract

This study provides new evidence on top income shares in Germany from industrialization to the present. Income concentration was high in the nineteenth century, dropped sharply after WWI and during the hyperinflation years of the 1920s, then increased rapidly throughout the Nazi period beginning in the 1930s. Following the end of WWII, German top income shares returned to 1920s levels. The German pattern stands in contrast to developments in France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, where WWII brought a sizeable and lasting reduction in top income shares. Since the turn of the millennium, income concentration in Germany has been on the rise and is today among the highest in Europe. The capital share is consistently positively associated with income concentration, whereas growth, technological change, trade, unions, and top tax rates are positively associated in some periods and negative in others.

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  • Bartels, Charlotte, 2019. "Top Incomes in Germany, 1871-2014," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 669-707.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:espost:222930
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    Cited by:

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    2. Thomas Blanchet & Lucas Chancel & Amory Gethin, 2019. "How Unequal is Europe? Evidence from Distributional National Accounts, 1980-2017," World Inequality Lab Working Papers hal-02877000, HAL.
    3. Naudé, Wim & Nagler, Paula, 2022. "The Ossified Economy: The Case of Germany, 1870-2020," IZA Discussion Papers 15607, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Maria Gomez-Leon & Giacomo Gabbuti, 2021. "Wars, Depression, and Fascism: Income Inequality in Italy, 1900-1950," Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra 2104, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra.
    5. Advani, Arun & Summers, Andy, 2020. "Capital Gains and UK Inequality," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1260, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    6. Giacomo Gabbuti, 2018. "Labour Shares and Income Inequality: Insights from Italian Economic History, 1895-2015," HHB Working Papers Series 13, The Historical Household Budgets Project.
    7. Nishant Yonzan & Branko Milanovic & Salvatore Morelli & Janet Gornick, 2022. "Drawing a Line: Comparing the Estimation of Top Incomes between Tax Data and Household Survey Data," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 20(1), pages 67-95, March.
    8. Kersting, Felix & Wohnsiedler, Iris & Wolf, Nikolaus, 2020. "Weber Revisited: The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Nationalism," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 80(3), pages 710-745, September.
    9. Thilo N. H. Albers & Charlotte Bartels & Moritz Schularick, 2020. "The Distribution of Wealth in Germany, 1895-2018," ECONtribute Policy Brief Series 001, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    10. Charlotte Bartels & Felix Kersting & Nikolaus Wolf, 2021. "Testing Marx. Income inequality, concentration, and socialism in late 19th century Germany," Working Papers 0211, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    11. Mares, Isabela & Queralt, Didac, 2020. "Fiscal innovation in nondemocratic regimes: Elites and the adoption of the prussian income taxes of the 1890s⁎," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 77(C).
    12. Charlotte Bartels & Carsten Schroeder, 2020. "The role of rental income, real estate and rents for inequality in Germany," Working Papers 7, Forum New Economy.
    13. Charlotte Bartels & Carsten Schroeder, 2020. "Income, consumption and wealth inequality in Germany: Three concepts, three stories?," Basic Papers 2, Forum New Economy.
    14. Lea Immel, 2021. "The Impact of Labor Market Reforms on Income Inequality: Evidence from the German Hartz Reforms," ifo Working Paper Series 347, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    15. Bartels, Charlotte & Waldenström, Daniel, 2021. "Inequality and top incomes," GLO Discussion Paper Series 959, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    16. Ashley Pullman & Britta Gauly & Clemens M. Lechner, 2021. "Short-term earnings mobility in the Canadian and German context: the role of cognitive skills," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 55(1), pages 1-19, December.
    17. Giacomo Gabbuti, 2022. "Those Who Were Better Off: Capital and Top Incomes in Fascist Italy," LEM Papers Series 2022/31, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    18. Gregori Galofre-Vila, 2021. "The Costs of Hyperinflation: Germany 1923," Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra 2101, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    income distribution; comparison;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative

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