Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy

No 2017:9: Top earners: cross-country facts

Alejandro Badel (), Moira Daly (), Mark Huggett () and Martin Nybom ()
Additional contact information
Alejandro Badel: Georgetown University and Bureau of Labor Statistics, Postal: USA
Moira Daly: Copenhagen Business School, Postal: Denmark
Mark Huggett: Georgetown University, Postal: USA
Martin Nybom: IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, Postal: Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract: We provide a common set of life-cycle earnings statistics using administrative data from the United States, Canada, Denmark and Sweden. Three qualitative patterns are common across countries: (1) the earnings distribution above the median fans out with age, (2) the extreme right tail of the earnings distribution becomes thicker with age, and (3) the growth rate of earnings over the working lifetime is larger for groups with higher lifetime earnings. Models of top earners should account for these qualitative patterns and, importantly, for how they quantitatively differ across countries.

Keywords: earnings; inequality; top earners; top incomes

JEL-codes: D31; D91; H21; J31

31 pages, June 1, 2017

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wp2017-09-top-earners-cross-country-facts.pdf PDF-file 

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