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Paris School of Economics
The World Top Incomes Database
Edited: 201412091032
There has been a marked revival of interest in the study of the distribution of top incomes using tax data. Beginning with the research by Thomas Piketty (2001, 2003) of the long-run distribution of top incomes in France, a succession of studies has constructed top income share time series over the long-run for more than twenty countries to date. These projects have generated a large volume of data, which are intended as a research resource for further analysis.

The world top incomes database aims to providing convenient on line access to all the existent series. This is an ongoing endeavour, and we will progressively update the base with new observations, as authors extend the series forwards and backwards. Despite the database's name, we will also add information on the distribution of earnings and the distribution of wealth. As the map below shows, around forty-five further countries are under study, and will be incorporated at some point (see Work in Progress).

The first twenty-two country-studies have been included in two volumes edited by Anthony B. Atkinson and Thomas Piketty: Top Incomes over the Twentieth Century: A Contrast between Continental European and English-Speaking Countries (2007), and Top Incomes over the Twentieth Century: A Global Perspective (2010). They cover several European countries (France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, UK, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Portugal, Spain, Italy), Northern America (United States and Canada), Australia and New Zealand, one Latin American country (Argentina), and five Asian countries (Japan, India, China, Singapore, Indonesia). South Africa, Mauritius, Tanzania, Denmark, Colombia, Malaysia, Uruguay, and Korea have been added to the list.

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