IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hal/wilwps/hal-02878315.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Weight of the Rich: Improving Surveys Using Tax Data

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas Blanchet

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, WIL - World Inequality Lab)

  • Ignacio Flores

    (WIL - World Inequality Lab)

  • Marc Morgan

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, WIL - World Inequality Lab)

Abstract

It is generally accepted that household surveys fail to accurately portray the top tail of the income distribution. Indeed, studies based on tax data challenge the credibility of surveys as a source to study inequality. To date, there is no broad consensus on how to best reconcile these two datasets. This paper presents a novel method that enables a consistent combination of these two sources of data, under the assumption that tax data sets a credible lower bound on the amount of people with given levels of income. The resulting micro-dataset preserves the consistency of other socio-demographic variables at both the individual and aggregate levels. It thus allows researchers to analyze dimensions of social inequality under a more representative distributive framework. Our procedure is illustrated by empirical applications to five countries, covering both developed and less-developed contexts over numerous years.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Blanchet & Ignacio Flores & Marc Morgan, 2018. "The Weight of the Rich: Improving Surveys Using Tax Data," World Inequality Lab Working Papers hal-02878315, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:wilwps:hal-02878315
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://pse.hal.science/hal-02878315
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://pse.hal.science/hal-02878315/document
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Thomas Piketty & Li Yang & Gabriel Zucman, 2019. "Capital Accumulation, Private Property, and Rising Inequality in China, 1978–2015," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(7), pages 2469-2496, July.
    2. Lucas Chancel & Thomas Piketty, 2019. "Indian Income Inequality, 1922‐2015: From British Raj to Billionaire Raj?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 65(S1), pages 33-62, November.
    3. Filip Novokmet & Thomas Piketty & Gabriel Zucman, 2018. "From Soviets to oligarchs: inequality and property in Russia 1905-2016," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 16(2), pages 189-223, June.
    4. Annette Alstadsæter & Niels Johannesen & Gabriel Zucman, 2019. "Tax Evasion and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(6), pages 2073-2103, June.
    5. Stephen P. Jenkins, 2017. "Pareto Models, Top Incomes and Recent Trends in UK Income Inequality," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 84(334), pages 261-289, April.
    6. 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, March.
    7. Thomas Piketty & Li Yang & Gabriel Zucman, 2017. "Appendix to "Capital Accumulation, Private Property and Rising Inequality in China, 1978-2015"," Working Papers 201707, World Inequality Lab.
    8. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman, 2018. "Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 133(2), pages 553-609.
    9. Taleb, Nassim Nicholas & Douady, Raphael, 2015. "On the super-additivity and estimation biases of quantile contributions," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 429(C), pages 252-260.
    10. Simon Kuznets & Elizabeth Jenks, 1953. "Shares of Upper Income Groups in Savings," NBER Chapters, in: Shares of Upper Income Groups in Income and Savings (1953), pages 171-218, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Vladimir Hlasny & Paolo Verme, 2022. "The Impact of Top Incomes Biases on the Measurement of Inequality in the United States," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 84(4), pages 749-788, August.
    12. Anthony Atkinson & Thomas Piketty, 2010. "Top Incomes : A Global Perspective," PSE-Ecole d'économie de Paris (Postprint) halshs-00754875, HAL.
    13. Annette Alstadsæter & Martin Jacob & Wojciech Kopczuk & Kjetil Telle, 2016. "Accounting for Business Income in Measuring Top Income Shares: Integrated Accrual Approach Using Individual and Firm Data from Norway," NBER Working Papers 22888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Marc Morgan, 2017. "Extreme and Persistent Inequality: New Evidence for Brazil Combining National Accounts, Surveys and Fiscal Data, 2001-2015," World Inequality Lab Working Papers halshs-02794605, HAL.
    15. 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.
    16. Richard V. Burkhauser & Nicolas Hérault & Stephen P. Jenkins & Roger Wilkins, 2018. "Survey Under‐Coverage of Top Incomes and Estimation of Inequality: What is the Role of the UK's SPI Adjustment?," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 39(2), pages 213-240, June.
    17. Gary Solon & Steven J. Haider & Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2015. "What Are We Weighting For?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(2), pages 301-316.
    18. Tasha Fairfield & Michel Jorratt De Luis, 2016. "Top Income Shares, Business Profits, and Effective Tax Rates in Contemporary Chile," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62(S1), pages 120-144, August.
    19. Thomas Blanchet & Juliette Fournier & Thomas Piketty, 2022. "Generalized Pareto Curves: Theory and Applications," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 68(1), pages 263-288, March.
    20. repec:iae:iaewps:wp2016n5 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. François Bourguignon, 2018. "Simple adjustments of observed distributions for missing income and missing people," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 16(2), pages 171-188, June.
    22. Alvaredo, Facundo, 2011. "A note on the relationship between top income shares and the Gini coefficient," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(3), pages 274-277, March.
    23. Okolewski, Andrzej & Rychlik, Tomasz, 2001. "Sharp distribution-free bounds on the bias in estimating quantiles via order statistics," Statistics & Probability Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 207-213, April.
    24. Vladimir Hlasny & Paolo Verme, 2018. "Top Incomes and Inequality Measurement: A Comparative Analysis of Correction Methods Using the EU SILC Data," Econometrics, MDPI, vol. 6(2), pages 1-21, June.
    25. Burkhauser, Richard V. & Herault, Nicolas & Jenkins, Stephen P. & Wilkins, Roger, 2016. "What Has Been Happening to UK Income Inequality since the Mid-1990s? Answers from Reconciled and Combined Household Survey and Tax Return Data," IZA Discussion Papers 9718, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    26. 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.
    27. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality in the United States, 1913–1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 118(1), pages 1-41.
    28. Branko Milanovic & Tasha Fairfield & Michel Jorratt De Luis, 2016. "Top Income Shares, Business Profits, and Effective Tax Rates in Contemporary Chile," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62, pages 120-144, August.
    29. Nassim Nicholas Taleb & Raphaël Douady, 2015. "On the Super-Additivity and Estimation Biases of Quantile Contributions," Post-Print hal-01477963, HAL.
    30. Kopczuk, Wojciech & Alstadsæter, Annette & Jacob, Martin & Telle, Kjetil, 2016. "Accounting for Business Income in Measuring Top Income Shares: Integrated Accrual Approach Using Individual and Firm Data from," CEPR Discussion Papers 11671, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    31. Atkinson, A. B. & Piketty, Thomas (ed.), 2010. "Top Incomes: A Global Perspective," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286898.
    32. Taleb, Nassim Nicholas & Douady, Raphael, 2015. "On the super-additivity and estimation biases of quantile contributions," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 429(C), pages 252-260.
    33. Piketty, Thomas & Chancel, Lucas, 2017. "Indian income inequality, 1922-2014: From British Raj to Billionaire Raj ?," CEPR Discussion Papers 12409, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    34. Marc Morgan, 2017. "Extreme and Persistent Inequality: New Evidence for Brazil Combining National Accounts, Surveys and Fiscal Data, 2001-2015," Working Papers halshs-02794605, HAL.
    35. Anton Korinek & Johan Mistiaen & Martin Ravallion, 2006. "Survey nonresponse and the distribution of income," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 4(1), pages 33-55, April.
    36. Richard V. Burkhauser & Markus H. Hahn & Roger Wilkins, 2016. "Top Incomes and Inequality in Australia: Reconciling Recent Estimates from Household Survey and Tax Return Data," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2016n19, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    37. Diaz Bazan,Tania Valeria, 2015. "Measuring inequality from top to bottom," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7237, The World Bank.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    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. Nora Lustig, 2019. "The “Missing Rich” in Household Surveys: Causes and Correction Approaches," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 75, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    2. Nora Lustig, 2020. "The ``missing rich'' in household surveys: causes and correction approaches," Working Papers 520, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    3. Bartels, Charlotte & Waldenström, Daniel, 2021. "Inequality and top incomes," GLO Discussion Paper Series 959, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    4. Pablo Gutiérrez Cubillos, 2022. "Gini and undercoverage at the upper tail: a simple approximation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 29(2), pages 443-471, April.
    5. Thomas Blanchet & Juliette Fournier & Thomas Piketty, 2022. "Generalized Pareto Curves: Theory and Applications," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 68(1), pages 263-288, March.
    6. Facundo Alvaredo & Lydia Assouad & Thomas Piketty, 2019. "Measuring lnequality in the Middle East 1990–2016: The World’s Most Unequal Region?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 65(4), pages 685-711, December.
    7. Tahnee Christelle Ooms, 2021. "Correcting the Underestimation of Capital Incomes in Inequality Indicators: with an Application to the UK, 1997–2016," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 157(3), pages 929-953, October.
    8. Piketty, Thomas & Alvaredo, Facundo & Assouad, Lydia, 2017. "Measuring inequality in the Middle East 1990-2016: The World’s Most Unequal Region?," CEPR Discussion Papers 12405, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Muhammed Abdul Khalid & Li Yang, 2019. "Income Inequality and Ethnic Cleavages in Malaysia: Evidence from Distributional National Accounts (1984-2014)," World Inequality Lab Working Papers hal-02876992, HAL.
    10. Muhammed Abdul Khalid & Li Yang, 2019. "Income Inequality and Ethnic Cleavages in Malaysia: Evidence from Distributional National Accounts (1984-2014)," Working Papers hal-02876992, HAL.
    11. Pawel Bukowski & Filip Novokmet, 2019. "Between communism and capitalism: long-term inequality in Poland, 1892-2015," CEP Discussion Papers dp1628, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    12. Piketty, Thomas & Bozio, Antoine & Garbinti, Bertrand & Goupille-Lebret, Jonathan & Guillot, Malka, 2020. "Predistribution vs. Redistribution: Evidence from France and the U.S," CEPR Discussion Papers 15415, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Ooms, Tahnee, 2021. "Correcting the underestimation of capital incomes in inequality indicators: with an application to the UK, 1997–2016," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 108900, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    14. Thomas Blanchet & Lucas Chancel & Amory Gethin, 2019. "How Unequal is Europe? Evidence from Distributional National Accounts, 1980-2017," Working Papers hal-02877000, HAL.
    15. Bukowski, Pawel & Novokmet, Filip, 2019. "Between communism and capitalism: long-term inequality in Poland, 1892-2015," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 102834, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    16. Bukowski, Pawel & Novokmet, Filip, 2019. "Between communism and capitalism: long-term inequality in Poland, 1892-2015," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 102814, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    17. Pawel Bukowski & Filip Novokmet, 2019. "Between Communism and Capitalism: Long-Term Inequality in Poland, 1892- 2015," World Inequality Lab Working Papers hal-02876995, HAL.
    18. 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.
    19. Pawel Bukowski & Filip Novokmet, 2019. "Between Communism and Capitalism: Long-Term Inequality in Poland, 1892- 2015," Working Papers hal-02876995, HAL.
    20. Khalid, Muhammed Abdul & Yang, Li, 2021. "Income inequality and ethnic cleavages in Malaysia: Evidence from distributional national accounts (1984–2014)," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).

    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:hal:wilwps:hal-02878315. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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: Caroline Bauer (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/ .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.