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Top Incomes in Canada: Evidence from the Census

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  • Thomas Lemieux
  • W. Craig Riddell

Abstract

This paper looks at the evolution of incomes at the top of the distribution in Canada. Master files of the Canadian Census are used to study the composition of top income earners between 1981 and 2011. Our main finding is that, as in the United States, executives and individuals working in the financial and business services sectors are the two most important groups driving the growth in top incomes in Canada. A finding more specific to Canada is that the oil and gas sector has also played an important role in income growth at the top, especially in more recent years. Another arguably Canadian-specific finding is that holders of medical degrees have lost ground compared to other top income earners. Finally, despite the IT revolution, scientists, engineers and even computer scientists do not account for much of the growth in top incomes in Canada.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Lemieux & W. Craig Riddell, 2015. "Top Incomes in Canada: Evidence from the Census," NBER Working Papers 21347, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21347
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    Cited by:

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    2. Marco Ioffredi, 2018. "Income Inequality and Economic Growth: Decomposing the Effects of the Income Distribution," LIS Working papers 751, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    3. Thomas Lemieux, 2014. "Occupations, fields of study and returns to education," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1047-1077, November.
    4. Callan, Tim & Doorley, Karina & McTague, Alyvia, 2020. "Top Incomes in Ireland: Reconciling Evidence from Tax Records and Household Survey Data," IZA Discussion Papers 13585, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Saara Vaahtoniemi, 2021. "The finance wage premium: Finnish evidence from a gender perspective," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 35(3), pages 412-431, September.
    6. Pierre Brochu & Till Gross & Christopher Worswick, 2020. "Temporary foreign workers and firms: Theory and Canadian evidence," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 53(3), pages 871-915, August.
    7. Michael Böhm & Daniel Metzger & Per Strömberg, 2022. "“Since You’re So Rich, You Must Be Really Smart”: Talent, Rent Sharing, and the Finance Wage Premium," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 147, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    8. Böhm, Michael Johannes & Metzger, Daniel & Strömberg, Per, 2022. ""Since You're So Rich, You Must Be Really Smart": Talent, Rent Sharing, and the Finance Wage Premium," IZA Discussion Papers 15337, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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