Institute for Research in the Social Sciences
Top Incomes: Evidence and Policy Implications
The lecture will present evidence on income inequality gathered by a collective group of researchers in the World Top Incomes Database. The database includes top income shares time series over the long run for more than twenty countries. We will summarize the key empirical findings. Most countries experience a dramatic drop in top income shares in the first part of the twentieth century. Top income shares do not rebound in the postwar decades. However, over the last thirty years, top income shares have increased substantially in English speaking countries but not in continental European countries or Japan. We will discuss the role of technology and globalization, government regulations, and tax progressivity in explaining those empirical findings.
Speaker: Emmanuel Saez, U.C. Berkeley, Economics