Top Incomes over the Twentieth Century: A Contrast between by A. B. Atkinson, Thomas Piketty

By A. B. Atkinson, Thomas Piketty

In accordance with a pioneering study programme at the evolution of best earning, this quantity brings jointly reports from 10 OECD nations. This quickly turning out to be box of financial learn investigates the pinnacle section of the source of revenue distribution by utilizing information from source of revenue tax documents over the last century. in addition to describing the resource information and strategies hired, the authors additionally talk about the dramatic alterations that experience happened on the most sensible of the source of revenue scale during the twentieth century. This attention-grabbing research is the 1st of its type to supply a finished historical evaluation of most sensible source of revenue distribution during the last century. It seems at why most sensible earning stocks fell markedly within the first half the 20 th century and why, extra lately, there was a outstanding distinction within the most sensible source of revenue distribution among continental Europe and English-speaking OECD nations, just like the united kingdom, united states, and Australia. Written by way of the pinnacle names within the box, this seminal paintings presents wealthy pickings for people with an curiosity in inequality, improvement, the commercial effect of warfare, taxation, financial historical past, and government repayment.

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The number with an income in excess of ten times average earnings fell steadily after the Second World War and by 1979 was below 20,000. It is interesting to compare the fall with that in the number of indoor private domestic servants. 4 million in Great Britain; by 1952 the number had fallen to 350,000 and by 1971 to 200,000 (Routh 1980: 35). Although the nature of the employment has changed, one suspects that the numbers have increased in the past two decades. Certainly the change in the income distribution has led to a reversal of the previous trend in the number with gross income in excess of ten times average earnings.

In most countries, micro-level data sets with large oversampling at the top (or sometime exhaustive date sets) have been used by tax authorities since the 1970s but are diYcult to access for researchers. 16 T. Piketty (older returns were destroyed in some countries, but properly stored in others) and scan hundreds of thousands of them. Depending on technological evolution and Wnancial resources made available for such projects, scholars working on historical changes in income distribution might throw away tax tabulations and start working on long run micro-level tax returns data set in ten years, 50 years, or more.

In the UK in 1931 the population aged 15 and over was some 13% larger than that aged 20 and over (ONS 2003: 28). 1. Armed with these formulae, we can see that the eVect of taking a control total for population larger by (1 þ c) is that we have to go further down the distribution to locate the top X%, and, from equation (1a), the level of income falls by a factor (1 þ c)1=Æ. From equation 28 A. B. Atkinson (1b) we can see that this raises the estimated share by a factor (1 þ c)1À1=Æ. With c ¼ 13% and Æ ¼ 2, this yields an adjustment of some 6% (not 6 percentage points).

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