Article

Top Incomes

Andrew Leigh

in The Oxford Handbook of Economic Inequality

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199606061
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199606061.013.0007

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Economics

 Top Incomes

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  • Labour and Demographic Economics
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This article deals with the issue of how high incomes have been changing over long time periods for many rich countries. Section 2 discusses the basic methodology used for creating recent top incomes estimates, and issues that arise about comparability across countries. Section 3 presents time trends for both Anglo–Saxon and non-Anglo–Saxon countries. Section 4 assesses top income shares against the standard axioms of inequality, and presents empirical evidence on the relationship between top income shares and other commonly used measures of inequality, such as the Gini coefficient. Section 5 considers possible drivers of top incomes, including major events (such as world wars and depressions), superstar labour markets, changes in taxation, and political partisanship. Section 6 discusses research on outcomes that may be affected by top incomes, including health, economic growth, and national savings. The article concludes with a discussion of the many fruitful directions for research that remain in this rapidly growing field.

Keywords: rich countries; income estimates; Anglo–Saxon; superstar labour markets; taxation; war; depression; political partisanship; inequality

Article.  10231 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Labour and Demographic Economics ; Public Economics

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