Abstract

We use newly compiled top income data and structural breaks techniques to estimate common trends and breaks in inequality across countries over the twentieth century. Our results both confirm earlier findings and offer new insights. In particular, the division into an Anglo-Saxon and a Continental European experience is not as clear-cut as previously suggested. Some Continental European countries seem to have, experienced increases in top income shares, just as Anglo-Saxon countries have, but typically with a lag. Most notably, Nordic countries display a marked Anglo-Saxon pattern, with sharply increased top income shares, especially when including realized capital gains. Our results help inform theories about the causes of the recent rise in inequality.

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