IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/een/camaaa/2009-17.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Do rising top incomes lift all boats?

Author

Listed:
  • Dan Andrews
  • Christopher Jencks
  • Andrew Leigh

Abstract

Pooling data for 1905 to 2000, we find no systematic relationship between top income shares and economic growth in a panel of 12 developed nations observed for between 22 and 85 years. After 1960, however, a one percentage point rise in the top decile’s income share is associated with a statistically significant 0.12 point rise in GDP growth during the following year. This relationship is not driven by changes in either educational attainment or top tax rates. If the increase in inequality is permanent, the increase in growth appears to be permanent, but it takes 13 years for the cumulative positive effect of faster growth on the mean income of the bottom nine deciles to offset the negative effect of reducing their share of total income.

Suggested Citation

  • Dan Andrews & Christopher Jencks & Andrew Leigh, 2009. "Do rising top incomes lift all boats?," CAMA Working Papers 2009-17, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:een:camaaa:2009-17
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://cama.crawford.anu.edu.au/sites/default/files/publication/cama_crawford_anu_edu_au/2021-06/17_andrews_jencks_leigh_2009.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sarah Voitchovsky, 2005. "Does the Profile of Income Inequality Matter for Economic Growth?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 273-296, September.
    2. Simon Kuznets & Elizabeth Jenks, 1953. "Shares of Upper Income Groups in Income and Savings (1953)," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn53-1, May.
    3. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
    4. Anthony B. Atkinson, 2005. "Comparing the Distribution of Top Incomes Across Countries," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 393-401, 04/05.
    5. Andrew Leigh, 2007. "How Closely Do Top Income Shares Track Other Measures of Inequality?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(524), pages 619-633, November.
    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. 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.
    8. Cecilia Garcia-Penalosa & Eve Caroli & Philippe Aghion, 1999. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1615-1660, December.
    9. Eriksson, Tor, 1999. "Executive Compensation and Tournament Theory: Empirical Tests on Danish Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 262-280, April.
    10. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
    11. Andrew Leigh & Alberto Posso, 2009. "Top Incomes And National Savings," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(1), pages 57-74, March.
    12. Anthony Atkinson & Thomas Piketty, 2007. "Top incomes over the twentieth century: A contrast between continental european and english-speaking countries," Post-Print halshs-00754859, HAL.
    13. Levine, Ross, 2002. "Bank-Based or Market-Based Financial Systems: Which Is Better?," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 398-428, October.
    14. 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.
    15. repec:dau:papers:123456789/10091 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Main, Brian G M & O'Reilly, Charles A, III & Wade, James, 1993. "Top Executive Pay: Tournament or Teamwork?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(4), pages 606-628, October.
    17. 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.
    18. A B Atkinson & Andrew Leigh, 2010. "The Distribution of Top Incomes in Five Anglo-Saxon Countries over the Twentieth Century," CEPR Discussion Papers 640, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    19. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
    20. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    21. Fredrik Heyman, 2005. "Pay inequality and firm performance: evidence from matched employer-employee data," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(11), pages 1313-1327.
    22. Kristin J. Forbes, 2000. "A Reassessment of the Relationship between Inequality and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 869-887, September.
    23. 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.
    24. Atkinson, A. B. & Piketty, Thomas (ed.), 2007. "Top Incomes Over the Twentieth Century: A Contrast Between Continental European and English-Speaking Countries," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286881.
    25. A. L. Bowley, 1914. "The British Super-Tax and the Distribution of Income," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(2), pages 255-268.
    26. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
    27. Roine, Jesper & Waldenstrom, Daniel, 2008. "The evolution of top incomes in an egalitarian society: Sweden, 1903-2004," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1-2), pages 366-387, February.
    28. 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.
    29. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill-Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 733-783, October.
    30. Fajnzylber, Pablo & Lederman, Daniel & Loayza, Norman, 2002. "Inequality and Violent Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(1), pages 1-40, April.
    31. 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.
    32. Banerjee, Abhijit V & Duflo, Esther, 2003. "Inequality and Growth: What Can the Data Say?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 267-299, September.
    33. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-1426, November.
    34. Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Growth, Income Distribution, and Democracy: What the Data Say," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 149-187, June.
    35. Barro, Robert J, 2000. "Inequality and Growth in a Panel of Countries," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 5-32, March.
    36. repec:pse:psecon:2007-39 is not listed on IDEAS
    37. Glaeser, Edward & Scheinkman, Jose & Shleifer, Andrei, 2003. "The injustice of inequality," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 199-222, January.
    38. Laura De Dominicis & Raymond J. G. M. Florax & Henri L. F. De Groot, 2008. "A Meta‐Analysis On The Relationship Between Income Inequality And Economic Growth," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 55(5), pages 654-682, November.
    39. Robert Summers & Alan Heston, 1991. "The Penn World Table (Mark 5): An Expanded Set of International Comparisons, 1950–1988," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 327-368.
    40. Andrea Brandolini & Anthony B. Atkinson, 2001. "Promise and Pitfalls in the Use of "Secondary" Data-Sets: Income Inequality in OECD Countries As a Case Study," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 771-799, September.
    41. Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712.
    42. Thomas Piketty, 2003. "Income Inequality in France, 1901-1998," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(5), pages 1004-1042, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Do rising top incomes mean higher growth?
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-12-02 23:01:00
    2. Har Rosenberg rätt om jämlikhet?
      by nonicoclolasos in Nonicoclolasos on 2010-03-09 12:00:08
    3. Hur påverkar ökad ojämlikhet tillväxten?
      by nonicoclolasos in Nonicoclolasos on 2009-12-03 22:06:36
    4. Inequality – It’s Bad…And It’s About to Get Way Worse
      by The Institute in INET Blog on 2013-09-13 23:21:07

    Citations

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


    Cited by:

    1. Peter Hoeller, 2012. "Less Income Inequality and More Growth – Are they Compatible? Part 4. Top Incomes," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 927, OECD Publishing.
    2. Josh Bivens & Lawrence Mishel, 2013. "The Pay of Corporate Executives and Financial Professionals as Evidence of Rents in Top 1 Percent Incomes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(3), pages 57-78, Summer.
    3. Dash, Bharatee Bhushan & Mukherjee, Sacchidananda, 2013. "Does Political Competition Influence Human Development? Evidence from the Indian States," Working Papers 13/118, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.
    4. Burkhauser, Richard V. & De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel & Powdthavee, Nattavudh, 2016. "Top Incomes and Human Well-being Around the World," IZA Discussion Papers 9677, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Risso, W. Adrián & Punzo, Lionello F. & Carrera, Edgar J. Sánchez, 2013. "Economic growth and income distribution in Mexico: A cointegration exercise," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 708-714.
    6. Raymundo M. Campos-Vazquez & Emmanuel Chavez & Gerardo Esquivel, 2017. "Growth is (really) good for the (really) rich," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(12), pages 2639-2675, December.
    7. Herzer, Dierk & Vollmer, Sebastian, 2013. "Rising top incomes do not raise the tide," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 504-519.
    8. Michael, Bryane & Hartwell, Christopher A. & Ho, Gary, 2013. "Does Financial Market Development Explain (or at Least Predict) the Demand for Wealth Management and Private Banking Services in Developing Markets?," EconStor Preprints 109960, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    9. Cabral, René & García-Díaz, Rocío & Mollick, André Varella, 2016. "Does globalization affect top income inequality?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 916-940.
    10. Santo Milasi, 2014. "Top Income Shares and Budget Deficits," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, issue 1, pages 383-406, January-M.
    11. Michal Brzezinski, 2013. "Income Polarization and Economic Growth," LIS Working papers 587, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    12. 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.
    13. Tuominen Elina, 2016. "Changes or levels? Reassessment of the relationship between top-end inequality and growth," Working Papers 1609, Tampere University, School of Management and Business, Economics.
    14. Saha, Anjan K. & Mishra, Vinod, 2020. "Genetic distance, economic growth and top income shares: Evidence from OECD countries," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 37-47.
    15. Tuominen Elina, 2016. "Top-end inequality and growth: Empirical evidence," Working Papers 1608, Tampere University, School of Management and Business, Economics.
    16. Jordá, Vanesa & Niño-Zarazúa, Miguel, 2019. "Global inequality: How large is the effect of top incomes?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 1-1.
    17. Tony Ward, 2017. "Inequality and Growth: Reviewing the Economic and Social Impacts," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 50(1), pages 32-51, March.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Tuominen Elina, 2016. "Top-end inequality and growth: Empirical evidence," Working Papers 1608, Tampere University, School of Management and Business, Economics.
    2. Tuominen Elina, 2016. "Changes or levels? Reassessment of the relationship between top-end inequality and growth," Working Papers 1609, Tampere University, School of Management and Business, Economics.
    3. 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.
    4. Roberto Dell'Anno & Adalgiso Amendola, 2015. "Social Exclusion and Economic Growth: An Empirical Investigation in European Economies," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 61(2), pages 274-301, June.
    5. Daniel Halter & Manuel Oechslin & Josef Zweimüller, 2014. "Inequality and growth: the neglected time dimension," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 81-104, March.
    6. Paweł Bukowski & Filip Novokmet, 2021. "Between communism and capitalism: long-term inequality in Poland, 1892–2015," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 187-239, June.
    7. Gravier-Rymaszewska, Joanna & Tyrowicz, Joanna & Kochanowicz, Jacek, 2010. "Intra-provincial inequalities and economic growth in China," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 237-258, September.
    8. Salvatore Morelli & Timothy Smeeding & Jeffrey Thompson, 2014. "Post-1970 Trends in Within-Country Inequality and Poverty: Rich and Middle Income Countries," CSEF Working Papers 356, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    9. Easterly, William, 2007. "Inequality does cause underdevelopment: Insights from a new instrument," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 755-776, November.
    10. Veronica Amarante, 2014. "Revisiting Inequality and Growth: Evidence for Developing Countries," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(4), pages 571-589, December.
    11. Amparo Castelló-Climent, 2010. "Inequality and growth in advanced economies: an empirical investigation," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 8(3), pages 293-321, September.
    12. Gründler, Klaus & Scheuermeyer, Philipp, 2015. "Income inequality, economic growth, and the effect of redistribution," W.E.P. - Würzburg Economic Papers 95, University of Würzburg, Chair for Monetary Policy and International Economics.
    13. Andrew Berg & Jonathan D. Ostry & Charalambos G. Tsangarides & Yorbol Yakhshilikov, 2018. "Redistribution, inequality, and growth: new evidence," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 259-305, September.
    14. Shinhye Chang & Rangan Gupta & Stephen M. Miller, 2018. "Causality Between Per Capita Real GDP and Income Inequality in the U.S.: Evidence from a Wavelet Analysis," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 135(1), pages 269-289, January.
    15. Adalgiso Amendola & Roberto Dell’Anno, 2014. "Income inequality and economic growth: an empirical investigation in Mediterranean countries," RIEDS - Rivista Italiana di Economia, Demografia e Statistica - The Italian Journal of Economic, Demographic and Statistical Studies, SIEDS Societa' Italiana di Economia Demografia e Statistica, vol. 68(2), pages 35-58, April-Jun.
    16. Nobuhiro Mizuno & Katsuyuki Naito & Ryosuke Okazawa, 2017. "Inequality, extractive institutions, and growth in nondemocratic regimes," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 170(1), pages 115-142, January.
    17. Ademola Obafemi Young, 2019. "Growth Impacts of Income Inequality: Empirical Evidence From Nigeria," Research in World Economy, Research in World Economy, Sciedu Press, vol. 10(3), pages 226-262, December.
    18. Christophe Ehrhart, 2009. "The effects of inequality on growth: a survey of the theoretical and empirical literature," Working Papers 107, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    19. Bagchi, Sutirtha & Svejnar, Jan, 2015. "Does wealth inequality matter for growth? The effect of billionaire wealth, income distribution, and poverty," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 505-530.
    20. Martin Ravallion, 2012. "Why Don't We See Poverty Convergence?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 504-523, February.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • N10 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

    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:een:camaaa:2009-17. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/asanuau.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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Cama Admin (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/asanuau.html .

    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.