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Top income shares in Portugal over the twentieth century


  • Jordi Guilera Rafecas

    (Universitat de Barcelona)


This paper presents new statistical evidence on the long-term evolution of income inequality in Portugal. Portuguese tax sources have been employed to estimate top income shares from 1936 onwards, with the methodology used to derive such inequality measure being taken from Piketty (2001). The new series show a decrease in top income shares during WWII, followed by a recovery up until the early 1950s. From the mid-fifties to the early eighties there was a huge decline in top income shares. Finally, during the 1990s top income shares once again increased. This pattern is very similar to the experience of other countries: the decline of top income shares during the Golden Age has been observed in most other cases, and their increase during the 1990s seems to put Portugal on a par with the experience of Anglo-Saxon countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Jordi Guilera Rafecas, 2008. "Top income shares in Portugal over the twentieth century," Working Papers in Economics 195, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
  • Handle: RePEc:bar:bedcje:2008195

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Milanovic, Branko & Lindert, Peter & Williamson, Jeffrey, 2007. "Measuring Ancient Inequality," MPRA Paper 5388, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Fabien Dell, 2005. "Top Incomes in Germany and Switzerland Over the Twentieth Century," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 412-421, 04/05.
    3. Atkinson, A B, 1997. "Bringing Income Distribution in from the Cold," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 297-321, March.
    4. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    5. Anthony B. Atkinson & Andrew Leigh, 2007. "The Distribution of Top Incomes in Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 83(262), pages 247-261, September.
    6. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    7. Alvaredo, Facundo & Saez, Emmanuel, 2006. "Income and Wealth Concentration in Spain in a Historical and Fiscal Perspective," CEPR Discussion Papers 5836, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. A. B. Atkinson & Andrew Leigh, 2005. "The Distribution of Top Incomes in New Zealand," CEPR Discussion Papers 503, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    9. Emmanuel Saez & Michael R. Veall, 2005. "The Evolution of High Incomes in Northern America: Lessons from Canadian Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 831-849, June.
    10. Anthony B. Atkinson & Wiemer Salverda, 2005. "Top Incomes In The Netherlands And The United Kingdom Over The 20th Century," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(4), pages 883-913, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Alvaredo, Facundo, 2009. "Top incomes and earnings in Portugal 1936-2005," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 404-417, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

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