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Assessing inequality using percentile shares


  • Ben Jann



At least since Thomas Piketty's best-selling "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" (2014, Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press), percentile shares have become a popular approach for analyzing distributional inequalities. In their work on the development of top incomes, Piketty and collaborators typically report top-percentage shares, using varying percentages as thresholds (top 10%, top 1%, top 0.1%, etc.). However, analysis of percentile shares at other positions in the distribution may also be of interest. In this paper I present a new Stata command called -pshare- that estimates percentile shares from individual-level data and displays the results using histograms or stacked bar charts. A shorter version of this paper has been published in The Stata Journal 16(2): 264-300 (see:

Suggested Citation

  • Ben Jann, 2015. "Assessing inequality using percentile shares," University of Bern Social Sciences Working Papers 13, University of Bern, Department of Social Sciences, revised 27 Oct 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:bss:wpaper:13

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stephen P. Jenkins, 1999. "Analysis of income distributions," Stata Technical Bulletin, StataCorp LP, vol. 8(48).
    2. 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.
    3. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2014. "Inequality in the long run," PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique" halshs-01053609, HAL.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bornmann, Lutz & Leydesdorff, Loet, 2017. "Skewness of citation impact data and covariates of citation distributions: A large-scale empirical analysis based on Web of Science data," Journal of Informetrics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 164-175.

    More about this item


    Stata; pshare; percentile shares; Lorenz curve; concentration curve; inequality; income distribution; wealth distribution; graphics;

    JEL classification:

    • C87 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Econometric Software
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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