An Integrated Approach for a Top-Corrected Income Distribution

Aufsätze referiert extern - Web of Science

Charlotte Bartels, Maria Metzing

In: Journal of Economic Inequality 17 (2019), 2, S. 125-143


Household survey data provide a rich information set on income, household context and demographic variables, but tend to underreport incomes at the very top of the distribution. Administrative data like tax records offer more precise information on top incomes, but at the expense of household context details and incomes of non-filers at the bottom of the distribution. We combine the benefits of the two data sources and develop an integrated approach for top-corrected income distributions where we impute top incomes in survey data using information on top income distribution from tax data. We apply our approach to European EU-SILC survey data which in some countries include administrative data. We find higher inequality in those European countries that exclusively rely (Germany, UK) or have relied (Spain) on interviews for the provision of EU-SILC survey data as compared to countries that use administrative data.

Charlotte Bartels

Research Associate in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department

Maria Metzing

Research Associate in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department

Keywords: Gini coefficient, Top income shares, Survey data, Tax record data, Pareto distribution