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The ins and outs of top income mobility

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Abstract

This paper is concerned with the question of whether top income earners are permanently there or only temporarily receive the highest incomes. How much mobility is there at the top of the income distribution, and how has mobility changed over time? The paper makes both a methodological and an empirical contribution to answering these questions. The first part of the paper introduces a family of top income mobility measures based on differences in average annual incomes of top income earners in short-term and long-term distributions of income. Norwegian income tax records are then employed to study top income mobility in Norway since 1967. The results reveal low levels of top income mobility, but a relatively large increase in mobility starting at the same time as the income shares of the top income receivers started to increase around 1990.

Suggested Citation

  • Rolf Aaberge & Anthony B. Atkinson & Jørgen Modalsli, 2013. "The ins and outs of top income mobility," Discussion Papers 762, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:762
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Björklund, Anders & Roine, Jesper & Waldenström, Daniel, 2012. "Intergenerational top income mobility in Sweden: Capitalist dynasties in the land of equal opportunity?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(5), pages 474-484.
    2. Michael Sattinger (ed.), 2001. "Income Distribution," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, volume 0, number 2018.
    3. Gerald Auten & Geoffrey Gee & Nicholas Turner, 2013. "Income Inequality, Mobility, and Turnover at the Top in the US, 1987-2010," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 168-172, May.
    4. Rolf Aaberge, 2009. "Ranking intersecting Lorenz curves," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 33(2), pages 235-259, August.
    5. Aaberge, Rolf, 2001. "Axiomatic Characterization of the Gini Coefficient and Lorenz Curve Orderings," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 115-132, November.
    6. Rolf Aaberge & Anders Björklund & Markus Jäntti & Mårten Palme & Peder J. Pedersen & Nina Smith & Tom Wennemo, 2002. "Income Inequality and Income Mobility in the Scandinavian Countries Compared to the United States," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(4), pages 443-469, December.
    7. Rolf Aaberge & A B Atkinson, 2013. "The median as watershed," Discussion Papers 749, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    8. Atkinson, A. B. & Piketty, Thomas (ed.), 2010. "Top Incomes: A Global Perspective," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286898.
    9. Aaberge, Rolf, et al, 2002. "Income Inequality and Income Mobility in the Scandinavian Countries Compared to the United States," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(4), pages 443-469, December.
    10. Rolf Aaberge & Magne Mogstad, 2014. "Income mobility as an equalizer of permanent income," Discussion Papers 769, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    11. Rolf Aaberge, 2000. "Characterizations of Lorenz curves and income distributions," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 17(4), pages 639-653.
    12. Rolf Aaberge & Anthony B. Atkinson, 2008. "Top Incomes in Norway," Discussion Papers 552, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    13. Wojciech Kopczuk & Emmanuel Saez & Jae Song, 2010. "Earnings Inequality and Mobility in the United States: Evidence from Social Security Data Since 1937," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(1), pages 91-128.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The ins and outs of top income mobility
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2013-12-27 18:50:38

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    Cited by:

    1. Andreas Fagereng & Luigi Guiso & Davide Malacrino & Luigi Pistaferri, 2016. "Heterogeneity and Persistence in Returns to Wealth," EIEF Working Papers Series 1615, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Nov 2016.
    2. repec:kap:jecinq:v:16:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10888-018-9386-x is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Rolf Aaberge & Anthony B. Atkinson & Sebastian Königs, 2018. "From classes to copulas: wages, capital, and top incomes," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 16(2), pages 295-320, June.
    4. Anthony B. Atkinson & Alessandra Casarico & Sarah Voitchovsky, 2018. "Top incomes and the gender divide," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 16(2), pages 225-256, June.
    5. Rolf Aaberge & Anthony B Atkinson & Jørgen Modalsli, 2016. "On the measurement of long-run income inequality. Empirical evidence from Norway, 1875-2013," Discussion Papers 847, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    6. Ravaska Terhi, 2018. "Top incomes and income dynamics from a gender perspective : Evidence from Finland 1995-2012," Working Papers 1822, University of Tampere, School of Management, Economics.
    7. Schjelderup, Guttorm, 2015. "Taxing mobile capital and profits: The nordic welfare states," Discussion Papers 2015/30, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Top income shares; Income mobility; Inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-

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