Top 1 Percent Income Shares: Comparing Estimates Using Tax Data
AbstractMany studies have used tax data to measure the U.S. income distribution, but their results vary widely. For example, in 2014 the top 1 percent share of income is 21.5 percent in Piketty and Saez (2003 and updates), 16.7 percent in the Congressional Budget Office (2018), and 13.1 percent in our analysis. What accounts for such large differences? We provide a step-by-step analysis of how methodological differences affect the results and address issues raised in Piketty, Saez, and Zucman (2018, 2019). Important differences include accounting for declining marriage rates, including social insurance and employer benefits, accounting for tax reforms, and including income missing from tax returns.
CitationAuten, Gerald, and David Splinter. 2019. "Top 1 Percent Income Shares: Comparing Estimates Using Tax Data." AEA Papers and Proceedings, 109: 307-11. DOI: 10.1257/pandp.20191038
- C81 Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
- D31 Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions