Taxes, surplus, and the top 1 percent

Thank you, David.

occasional links & commentary

taxes-income shares

We know that U.S. economic inequality—especially the share of income going to the top 1 percent—has been increasing for about three decades. The question is, can the latest research assist us in making sense of the ways top income-earners in the United States have been managing to capture a larger and larger share of the surplus?

In a new paper, „The Top 1 Percent in International and Historical Perspective,“ Facundo Alvaredo, Anthony B. Atkinson, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez note that there’s nothing universal or given (as suggested by theories of globalization and skill-based technological change) about the rising share of the top 1 percent. Instead, country-specific policies explain a large share of growing inequality that has been occurring in some places and not in others.

Alvarado et al. start by focusing on changes in top marginal tax rates and find that top tax rates have moved in the opposite direction…

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