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This paper examines the evolution of top incomes in Germany from 1907-2007 with a special focus on past decades. A more detailed analysis of German top incomes is conducted, beginning with a review of selected income distribution measures which indicate that high incomes have played a significant role for income divergence in recent years. Based on new data it is shown that top income shares have indeed increased substantially in the recent past, a process which is mainly due to a relative rise in employment rather than capital income within the top income groups. Finally, some theories explaining high incomes of the “working rich” are discussed.
Top income shares, income dispersion, executive compensation