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The distribution of top incomes in Australia

CollectionsANU Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
Title: The distribution of top incomes in Australia
Author(s): Atkinson, A B
Leigh, Andrew
Keywords: inequality
Australia
Publisher: Canberra, ACT: Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), The Australian National University
Series/Report no.: Discussion Paper (Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), The Australian National University): No. 514
Description: 
Using taxation statistics, we estimate the income share held by top income groups in Australia over the period 1921-2002. We find that the income share of the richest fell from the 1920s until the mid-1940s, rose briefly in the post-war decade, and then declined until the early-1980s. During the 1980s and 1990s, top income shares rose rapidly. At the start of the twenty-first century, the income share of the richest was higher than it had been at any point in the previous fifty years. Among top income groups, recent decades have also seen a rise in the share of top income accruing to the super-rich. Trends in top income shares are similar to those observed among other elite groups, such as judges, politicians, top bureaucrats and CEOs. We speculate that changes in top income shares may have been affected by top marginal tax rates, skill-biased technological change, social norms about inequality, and the internationalisation of the market for English-speaking CEOs
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1885/43259
ISSN: 1442-8636

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