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From Bottom to Top: The Entire Distribution of Market Income in Germany, 1992 - 2001

Author

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  • Stefan Bach
  • Giacomo Corneo
  • Viktor Steiner

Abstract

We analyze the distribution and concentration of market incomes in Germany in the period 1992 to 2001 on the basis of an integrated data set of individual tax returns and the German Socio-Economic Panel. The unique feature of this integrated data set is that it encompasses the whole spectrum of the population, from the very poor to the very rich. We find a modest increase in overall inequality of market incomes as measured by the Gini coefficient. However, we also document a substantial drop of median income and a remarkable income growth at the top 0.1% of the income distribution. The increase of income inequality was stronger in East Germany than in West Germany. In both regions, the income concentration process strongly benefited the economic elite, which we define as the richest 0.001% persons in the population. While the elite mainly obtains its income from business and capital, the income share that it receives in form of wage income is increasing.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefan Bach & Giacomo Corneo & Viktor Steiner, 2007. "From Bottom to Top: The Entire Distribution of Market Income in Germany, 1992 - 2001," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 683, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp683
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Corneo, Giacomo, 2006. "Media capture in a democracy: The role of wealth concentration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-2), pages 37-58, January.
    2. Dew-Becker, Ian & Gordon, Robert J, 2005. "Where did the Productivity Growth Go? Inflation Dynamics and the Distribution of Income," CEPR Discussion Papers 5419, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    5. 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.
    6. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2006. "The Evolution of Top Incomes: A Historical and International Perspective," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 200-205, May.
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    8. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hein, Eckhard, 2011. "Distribution, 'financialisation' and the financial and economic crisis: Implications for post-crisis economic policies," IPE Working Papers 09/2011, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Institute for International Political Economy (IPE).
    2. Martti Randveer & Tairi Rõõm, 2011. "The Structure of Migration in Estonia: Survey-Based Evidence," Research in Economics and Business: Central and Eastern Europe, Tallinn School of Economics and Business Administration, Tallinn University of Technology, vol. 3(1).
    3. Richard V. Burkhauser & Takashi Oshio & Ludmila Rovba, 2008. "How the Distribution of After-Tax Income Changed Over the 1990s Business Cycle: A Comparison of the United States, Great Britain, Germany and Japan," Journal of Income Distribution, Ad libros publications inc., vol. 17(1), pages 87-109, March.
    4. Petra Duenhaupt, 2011. "The Impact of Financialization on Income Distribution in the USA and Germany: A Proposal for a New Adjusted Wage Share," IMK Working Paper 7-2011, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    5. Nicola Fuchs-Schuendeln & Dirk Krueger & Mathias Sommer, 2010. "Inequality Trends for Germany in the Last Two Decades: A Tale of Two Countries," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 103-132, January.
    6. Michal Myck & Richard Ochmann & Salmai Qari, 2008. "Dynamics of Earnings and Hourly Wages in Germany," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 139, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    7. Angela Fiedler & Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln, 2011. "Die ungleiche Entwicklung der Ungleichheit in Deutschland seit der Wiedervereinigung," ifo Dresden berichtet, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 18(03), pages 24-32, June.
    8. Christoph Schinke, 2012. "Inheritance in Germany 1911 to 2009: A Mortality Multiplier Approach," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 462, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    9. Sommer, Mathias, 2008. "Understanding the trends in income, consumption and wealth inequality and how important are life-cycle effects?," Papers 08-12, Sonderforschungsbreich 504.
    10. Petra Duenhaupt, 2012. "Financialization and the rentier income share -- evidence from the USA and Germany," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(4), pages 465-487, June.
    11. Bohdan Kukharskyy, 2012. "Trade, Superstars, and Welfare," Working Papers 120, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    12. Nikos Koutsiaras, 2010. "How to Spend it: Putting a Labour Market Modernization Fund in Place of the European Globalization Adjustment Fund," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48, pages 617-640, June.
    13. Mathias Sommer, 2008. "Understanding the trends in income, consumption and wealth inequality and how important are life-cycle effects?," MEA discussion paper series 08160, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    14. Obst, Thomas, 2013. "Income inequality and the welfare state: How redistributive is the public sector?," IPE Working Papers 29/2013, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Institute for International Political Economy (IPE).
    15. Jeffrey Thompson & Timothy M. Smeeding, 2010. "Recent Trends in the Distribution of Income: Labor, Wealth and More Complete Measures of Well Being," Working Papers wp225, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Income Distribution; Top Incomes; Inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies

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