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Trends in Top Incomes and their Taxation in OECD Countries

Author

Listed:
  • Michael Förster

    (OECD)

  • Ana Llena-Nozal

    (OECD)

  • Vahé Nafilyan

    (OECD)

Abstract

The shares of top income recipients in total pre-tax income have increased in OECD countries in the past three decades, particularly in most of the English-speaking countries but also in some Nordic (from low levels) and Southern European countries. Today, the richest one percent receives between 7% of all pre-tax income in Denmark and the Netherlands up to almost 20% in the United States. This increase is the result of the top 1% capturing a disproportionate share of overall income growth over the past thirty years: around 20 – 25% in Australia and the United Kingdom, up to 37% in Canada and even 47% in the United States. At the same time, tax reforms in almost all OECD countries reduced top personal income tax rates as well as rates of other taxes affecting the highest income earners. Indeed, while top tax rates were equal to or above 70% in half of the countries in the mid-1970s, this rate has been halved in many countries by 2013. Au cours des trois dernières décennies, la part du revenu avant impôts revenant aux titulaires de hauts revenus a augmenté au sein des pays de l’OCDE, en particulier dans la plupart des pays anglophones mais aussi dans certains pays nordiques (démarrant toutefois d’un niveau relativement bas) et certains pays du sud de l’Europe. Aujourd’hui, les un pourcent les plus riches perçoivent entre 7% du revenu individuel total avant impôts au Danemark et aux Pays-Bas et presque 20% aux États-Unis. Cette forte progression est le résultat d’un partage inéquitable des fruits de la croissance des revenus aux cours des trente dernières années. En effet, entre 20% et 25% des bénéfices de la croissance est captée par les un pourcent les plus riches en Australie et au Royaume-Uni, et jusqu’à 37% au Canada, voire 47% aux États-Unis. Dans le même temps, les réformes fiscales de la plupart des pays de l’OCDE ont été dans le sens d’une réduction des taux d’imposition et d’autres taxes affectant les plus hauts revenus. Ainsi, alors que les taux d’imposition des plus hauts revenus étaient aux alentours de 70% dans la moitié des pays de l’OCDE dans les années 70, ils sont, en 2013, réduits de moitié dans de nombreux pays.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Förster & Ana Llena-Nozal & Vahé Nafilyan, 2014. "Trends in Top Incomes and their Taxation in OECD Countries," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 159, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:159-en
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5jz43jhlz87f-en
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Stefan Bach, 2016. "Erbschaftsteuer, Vermögensteuer oder Kapitaleinkommensteuer: Wie sollen hohe Vermögen stärker besteuert werden?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1619, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    2. Stefan Bach & Andreas Thiemann & Aline Zucco, 2015. "The Top Tail of the Wealth Distribution in Germany, France, Spain, and Greece," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1502, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Zhu, Junyi, 2015. "Bracket creep revisited - with and without r>g: Evidence from Germany," Discussion Papers 37/2015, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    4. Elin Halvorsen & Thor Olav Thoresen, 2017. "Distributional Effects of the Wealth Tax under a Lifetime-Dynastic Income Concept," CESifo Working Paper Series 6614, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Joel Hellier & Ekaterina Kalugina, 2015. "Globalization and the working poor," Working Papers 355, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General

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