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The Rise of Income and Wealth Inequality in America: Evidence from Distributional Macroeconomic Accounts

Abstract : This paper studies inequality in America through the lens of distributional macroeconomic accounts-comprehensive distributions of the aggregate amount of income and wealth recorded in the o cial macroeconomic accounts of the United States. We use these distributional macroeconomic accounts to quantify the rise of income and wealth concentration since the late 1970s, the change in tax progressivity, and the direct redistributive e↵ects of government intervention in the economy. Between 1978 and 2018, the share of pre-tax income earned by the top 1% rose from 10% to about 19% and the share of wealth owned by the top 0.1% rose from 7% to about 18%. In 2018, the tax system was regressive at the top-end; the top 400 wealthiest Americans paid a lower average tax rate than the macroeconomic tax rate of 29%. We confront our methods and findings with those of other studies, pinpoint the areas where more research is needed, and describe how additional data collection could improve inequality measurement.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-03022110
Contributor : Caroline Bauer <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 4:19:54 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, November 28, 2020 - 3:02:14 AM

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  • HAL Id : halshs-03022110, version 1

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Emmanuel Saez, Gabriel Zucman. The Rise of Income and Wealth Inequality in America: Evidence from Distributional Macroeconomic Accounts. 2020. ⟨halshs-03022110⟩

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