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Development of Top Incomes in Germany since 2001

DIW Weekly Report 1/2 / 2016, S. 3-8

Charlotte Bartels, Carsten Schröder

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What share of total income in Germany is owned by the country’s top income earners and how has this share developed over the past decade? Answers to these questions can be found both in representative survey data such as the longitudinal Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) study and in administrative data on income taxation. After the statistics have been harmonized accordingly, it becomes clear there remain systematic differences for the top one percent’s incomes — both in terms of the level of measured income concentration and in terms of changes over time. However, the two sets of data are very similar for the top ten percent excluding the top one percent as far as both level and trend of income shares are concerned.

Charlotte Bartels

Research Associate in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department

Carsten Schröder

Board of Directors SOEP and Division Head Applied Panel Analysis in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department

JEL-Classification: D31;H2
Keywords: top incomes, concentration, inequality, SOEP, income tax records
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