IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/diw/diwwpp/dp532.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Top Incomes and Top Taxes in Germany

Author

Listed:
  • Stefan Bach
  • Giacomo Corneo
  • Viktor Steiner

Abstract

We analyze the distribution and taxation of top incomes in Germany during the 1990s on the basis of individual tax returns data. We derive a measure of economic income from taxable gross income as reported in the tax returns. Thanks to complete sampling, we can deliver a very precise description of very high incomes, in terms of both distribution and composition by source. We also provide a measure of the effective average rate of taxation for various income groups. Our main findings are as follows: (i) incomes are highly concentrated in Germany, more than commonly thought; (ii) the German economic elite relies much less than elites in France or the US upon income from wages and salaries; (iii) income taxes are highly concentrated in Germany, more than commonly thought; (iv) although effective tax rates are significantly lower than statutory ones, the income tax is effectively progressive; (v) income taxation substantially reduces income inequality in Germany.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefan Bach & Giacomo Corneo & Viktor Steiner, 2005. "Top Incomes and Top Taxes in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 532, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp532
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.43871.de/dp532.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Giacomo Corneo, 2005. "The Rise and Likely Fall of the German Income Tax, 1958–2005," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 51(1), pages 159-186.
    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. Emmanuel Saez, 2004. "Reported Incomes and Marginal Tax Rates, 1960-2000: Evidence and Policy Implications," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 18, pages 117-174 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Fossen, Frank M. & Steiner, Viktor, 2006. "Income Taxes and Entrepreneurial Choice: Empirical Evidence from Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 2164, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Horn-Chern Lin & Tao Zeng, 2010. "The distributional impact of income tax in Canada and China: 1997-2005," Journal of Chinese Economic and Foreign Trade Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 3(2), pages 132-145, June.
    3. Roine, Jesper & Vlachos, Jonas & Waldenström, Daniel, 2007. "What Determines Top Income Shares? Evidence from the Twentieth Century," Research Papers in Economics 2007:17, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    4. Stefan Bach & Giacomo Corneo & Viktor Steiner, 2007. "From Bottom to Top: The Entire Distribution of Market Income in Germany, 1992-2001," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 51, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    5. Frank Fossen & Viktor Steiner, 2009. "Income taxes and entrepreneurial choice: empirical evidence from two German natural experiments," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 487-513, June.
    6. Baclet, Alexandre & Dell, Fabien & Wrohlich, Katharina, 2005. "Income Taxation and Household Size: Would French Family Splitting Make German Families Better Off?," IZA Discussion Papers 1894, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Martin Jacob & Rainer Niemann & Martin Weiss, 2008. "The Rich Demystified - A Reply to Bach, Corneo, and Steiner (2008)," CESifo Working Paper Series 2478, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Corneo, Giacomo, 2008. "Charity and redistributive taxation in a unionized economy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 831-843, October.
    9. Peter Haan, 2007. "Intertemporal Labor Supply Effects of Tax Reforms," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 669, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    10. Rubolino, Enrico & Waldenström, Daniel, 2017. "Trends and Gradients in Top Tax Elasticities: Cross-country Evidence, 1900–2014," Working Paper Series 1160, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    11. 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.
    12. Stefan Bach & Giacomo Corneo & Viktor Steiner, 2008. "Effective Taxation of Top Incomes in Germany, 1992 - 2002," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 767, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    13. Fritzsche, Bernd & Haisken-DeNew, John & Kambeck, Rainer & Siemers, Lars-H. R. & Bergs, Christian & Fuest, Clemens & Peichl, Andreas & Schaefer, Thilo & Thöne, Michael, 2007. "Der Zusammenhang zwischen Steuerlast- und Einkommensverteilung: Forschungsprojekt für das Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales. Endbericht - Dezember 2007," RWI Projektberichte, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, number 70874.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Income distribution; Personal income tax; Taxing the rich;

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp532. 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: (Bibliothek). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/diwbede.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.