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Who are the top 1% earners in Europe?

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  • Oliver Denk

    (OECD)

Abstract

Top earners have become the subject of intense public and scholarly debate. This is the first paper that comprehensively documents the profiles of the 1% highest paid employees across 18 European countries. The data come from the largest harmonised source available, an employer-based survey that covers the labour income of 10 million employees, excluding the self-employed. The patterns that emerge are broadly common across countries. Workers in the top 1% tend to be 40 to 60 years old, be men, have tertiary education, work in finance or manufacturing, and be senior managers. The analysis also uncovers several cross-country differences. For example, top earners are younger in Eastern Europe, and they include more women in countries with higher overall female employment. The new estimates in this paper are similar to related ones based on administrative records in the few countries for which such studies exist, indicating that the sample is broadly representative of the characteristics of top earners. Qui sont les 1 % des salariés les mieux payés en Europe ? Les très hauts revenus sont aujourd’hui au coeur du débat public et des travaux universitaires. Ce document est le premier qui procède à une analyse complète du profil des 1 % des salariés les mieux payés dans 18 pays européens. Les données proviennent de la plus grande source harmonisée qui existe, une enquête auprès des employeurs qui porte sur le revenu du travail de 10 millions de salariés, hors travailleurs indépendants. Les caractéristiques mises en évidence sont globalement similaires d’un pays à l’autre. Les employés qui font partie des 1 % les mieux rémunérés se trouvent principalement parmi les personnes âgées de 40 à 60 ans, de sexe masculin, ayant fait des études supérieures, travaillant dans la finance ou l’industrie, et occupant un poste de haut dirigeant. L’analyse révèle également plusieurs différences entre pays. Par exemple, les employés à très hauts revenus sont plus jeunes en Europe de l’Est, et les femmes sont davantage représentées dans cette catégorie dans les pays où le taux d’emploi des femmes est plus élevé. Les nouvelles estimations que cette étude fournit recoupent celles basées sur des registres administratifs dans les quelques pays où de telles études existent, ce qui révèle que l’échantillon est globalement représentatif des caractéristiques des bénéficiaires de hauts revenus.

Suggested Citation

  • Oliver Denk, 2015. "Who are the top 1% earners in Europe?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1274, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:1274-en
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1787/5jrp1g39gkzw-en
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Florian Scheuer & Joel Slemrod, 2019. "Taxation and the Superrich," NBER Working Papers 26207, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Charles, Aurelie & Vujić, Sunčica, 2018. "From Elitist to Sustainable Earnings: Is there a group legitimacy in financial flows?," GLO Discussion Paper Series 200, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    3. Martinez, Isabel Z., 2016. "Beggar-Thy-Neighbour Tax Cuts: Mobility after a Local Income and Wealth Tax Reform in Switzerland," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145643, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Fortin, Nicole M. & Bell, Brian & Böhm, Michael, 2017. "Top earnings inequality and the gender pay gap: Canada, Sweden, and the United Kingdom," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 107-123.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    earnings; Europe; Europe centrale; income inequality; inégalité des revenus; revenus;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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