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Generalized Pareto Curves : Theory and Applications

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Listed:
  • Thomas Blanchet

    (Paris School of Economics)

  • Juliette Fournier

    (MIT)

  • Thomas Piketty

    (Paris School of Economics)

Abstract

We define generalized Pareto curves as the curve of inverted Pareto coefficients b(p), where b(p) is the ratio between average income or wealth above rank p and the p-th quantile Q(p) (i.e. b(p) = E[X|X > Q(p)]/Q(p)). We use them to characterize entire distributions, including places like the top where power laws are a good description, and places further down where they are not. We develop a method to nonparametrically recover the entire distribution based on tabulated income or wealth data as is generally available from tax authorities, which produces smooth and realistic shapes of generalized Pareto curves. Using detailed tabulations from quasi-exhaustive tax data, we demonstrate the precision of our method both empirically and analytically. It gives better results than the most commonly used interpolation techniques. Finally, we use Pareto curves to identify recurring distributional patterns, and connect those findings to the existing literature that explains observed distributions by random growth models.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Blanchet & Juliette Fournier & Thomas Piketty, 2017. "Generalized Pareto Curves : Theory and Applications," Working Papers 201703, World Inequality Lab.
  • Handle: RePEc:wel:wpaper:201703
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bertrand Garbinti & Jonathan Goupille-Lebret & Thomas Piketty, 2017. "Income Inequality in France, 1900-2014: Evidence from Distributional National Accounts," Working Papers 201704, World Inequality Lab.
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    Cited by:

    1. Garbinti, Bertrand & Goupille-Lebret, Jonathan & Piketty, Thomas, 2018. "Income inequality in France, 1900–2014: Evidence from Distributional National Accounts (DINA)," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 63-77.
    2. Léo Czajka, 2017. "Income Inequality in Côte d'Ivoire: 1985-2014," Working Papers 201708, World Inequality Lab.
    3. Piketty, Thomas & Yang, Li & Zucman, Gabriel, 2017. "Capital Accumulation, Private Property and Rising Inequality in China, 1978-2015," CEPR Discussion Papers 12410, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Kvedaras, Virmantas, 2017. "Income inequality and private bank credit in developed economies," Working Papers 2017-06, Joint Research Centre, European Commission (Ispra site).
    5. Böhl, Gregor & Fischer, Thomas, 2017. "Can taxation predict US top-wealth share dynamics?," IMFS Working Paper Series 118, Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute for Monetary and Financial Stability (IMFS).
    6. Bertrand Garbinti & Jonathan Goupille-Lebret & Thomas Piketty, 2017. "Accounting for Wealth Inequality Dynamics: Methods, Estimates and Simulations for France (1800-2014)," Working Papers 201605, World Inequality Lab.
    7. Nora Lustig, 2018. "Measuring the Distribution of Household Income, Consumption and Wealth: State of Play and Measurement Challenges," Working Papers 1801, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    8. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:5:p:404-09 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Annette Alstadsæter & Niels Johannesen & Gabriel Zucman, 2017. "Tax Evasion and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 23772, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. 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.
    11. Facundo Alvaredo & Lucas Chancel & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman, 2017. "Global Inequality Dynamics: New Findings from WID.world," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(5), pages 404-409, May.
    12. Marc Morgan, 2018. "Income inequality, growth and elite taxation in Brazil: new evidence combining survey and fiscal data, 2001?2015," Working Papers 165, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    13. Bertrand Garbinti & Jonathan Goupille-Lebret & Thomas Piketty, 2016. "Appendix to "Accounting for Wealth Inequality Dynamics: Methods, Estimates and Simulations for France (1800-2014)"," Working Papers 201606, World Inequality Lab.
    14. Christian Alexander Belabed & Mariya Hake, 2018. "Income inequality and trust in national governments in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe," Working Papers 222, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
    15. Bertrand Garbinti & Jonathan Goupille-Lebret & Thomas Piketty, 2017. "Income Inequality in France, 1900-2014: Evidence from Distributional National Accounts," Working Papers 201704, World Inequality Lab.

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