Macrohistory Seminar – Charlotte Bartels (DIW)

Event details

  • | Wednesday, June 1
  • 12:30 PM
  • Fakultätssitzungszimmer, Juridicum, R. U22

Top Incomes in Germany, 1871-2011


This study provides first evidence on the long-run development of income concentration in a continental European country from the early phase of industrialization until present. Income concentration is measured by the income share accruing to the top of the income distribution such as the top decile or the top percentile using income tax statistics. German tax statistics offer the unique possibility to produce series from the middle of the 19th century for eight states ranging from heavily industrialized Prussia and Saxony to mostly agrarian Hesse and Baden. In a second step, these series are merged into a single German series covering 1871-2011. We find that the income share of the top 1% today is at a post-World War II high, but still lower than in Germany before World War I. Growth in income concentration at the top in Germany seems to be related to increases of profits from unincorporated firms and decreases of the wage share.


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