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The role of capital income for top incomes shares in Germany

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  • Bartels, Charlotte
  • Jenderny, Katharina

Abstract

A large literature has documented top income share series based on income tax statistics using the common methodology established by Piketty (2001, 2003). The disappearance of capital income from the income tax base in many countries poses a major challenge to the comparability of these series both over time and between countries. First, we extend the existing German series including capital gains to 2010, and the series excluding capital gains to 2008. Second, we derive three homogeneous series by simulating legislative definitions of capital income prevailing in Germany between 2001 and 2010. For both simulation and the exclusion of capital gains, we employ a rich data set containing the tax files of all income taxpayers. Third, we construct a composite measure of stock dividends and interest income tax ows as a proxy for capital income missing in the data since 2009. We find that the drop in top income shares obtained from income tax statistics in the crisis year 2009 is largely attributable to the exclusion of capital income from the income tax base.

Suggested Citation

  • Bartels, Charlotte & Jenderny, Katharina, 2014. "The role of capital income for top incomes shares in Germany," Discussion Papers 2014/32, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fubsbe:201432
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    1. Wilfried Altzinger & Christopher Berka & Stefan Humer & Mathias Moser, 2012. "Die langfristige Entwicklung der Einkommenskonzentration in Österreich, 1957-2009," Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft - WuG, Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Wien, Abteilung Wirtschaftswissenschaft und Statistik, vol. 38(1), pages 77-102.
    2. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality in the United States, 1913–1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-41.
    3. Stefan Bach & Giacomo Corneo & Viktor Steiner, 2013. "Effective Taxation of Top Incomes in Germany," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 14(2), pages 115-137, May.
    4. Clemens Hetschko, 2016. "On the misery of losing self-employment," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 461-478, August.
    5. Fabien Dell, 2005. "Top Incomes in Germany and Switzerland Over the Twentieth Century," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 412-421, 04/05.
    6. A. B. Atkinson, 2005. "Top incomes in the UK over the 20th century," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 168(2), pages 325-343.
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    8. Stefan Bach & Giacomo Corneo & Viktor Steiner, 2009. "From Bottom To Top: The Entire Income Distribution In Germany, 1992-2003," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 55(2), pages 303-330, June.
    9. Rolf Aaberge & Anthony B. Atkinson, 2008. "Top Incomes in Norway," Discussion Papers 552, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
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    11. Atkinson, A. B. & Piketty, Thomas (ed.), 2007. "Top Incomes Over the Twentieth Century: A Contrast Between Continental European and English-Speaking Countries," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286881.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Metzing, Maria & Bartels, Charlotte, 2016. "An integrated approach for top-corrected Ginis," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145818, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Till van Treeck, 2015. "r>g: Why the ‘Piketty Debate’ Unsettles Germany’s Economic Experts," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 16(1), pages 26-34, May.
    3. Corneo Giacomo, 2015. "Kreuz und quer durch die deutsche Einkommensverteilung," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 16(2), pages 109-126, June.
    4. Zhu, Junyi, 2015. "Bracket creep revisited - with and without r>g: Evidence from Germany," Discussion Papers 37/2015, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    5. Kai Daniel Schmid & Andreas Peichl & Moritz Drechsel-Grau, 2015. "Factor shares, personal income distribution and top incomes in Germany," IMK Report 108e-2015, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    6. Anthony Atkinson & Tahnee Ooms, 2015. "UK Estimates of Top Income Shares 2012-2013: Note on Methods," Technical Notes 201504, World Inequality Lab.
    7. Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der Gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung (ed.), 2015. "Zukunftsfähigkeit in den Mittelpunkt. Jahresgutachten 2015/16," Annual Economic Reports / Jahresgutachten, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, volume 127, number 201516, April.
    8. Späth Jochen & Schmid Kai Daniel, 2018. "The Distribution of Household Savings in Germany," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 238(1), pages 3-32, February.
    9. Biewen, Martin & Seckler, Matthias, 2017. "Changes in the German Wage Structure: Unions, Internationalization, Tasks, Firms, and Worker Characteristics," IZA Discussion Papers 10763, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Katharina Jenderny, 2016. "Mobility of Top Incomes in Germany," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62(2), pages 245-265, June.
    11. Kai Daniel Schmid & Andreas Peichl & Moritz Drechsel-Grau, 2015. "Querverteilung und Spitzeneinkommen in Deutschland," IMK Report 108-2015, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
    12. Biewen, Martin & Ungerer, Martin & Löffler, Max, 2016. "Trends in the German income distribution: 2005/06 to 2010/11," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-088, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    13. Engelhardt, Carina & Wagener, Andreas, 2017. "The income distribution of voters: a case study from Germany," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-586, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    14. repec:zbw:zewexp:170569 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    income inequality; income distribution; top incomes; taxation; capital; gains; Germany;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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