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FROM BOTTOM TO TOP: THE ENTIRE INCOME DISTRIBUTION IN GERMANY, 1992–2003

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We analyze the distribution of market income in Germany in the period 1992 to 2003 on the basis of an integrated dataset that encompasses the whole spectrum of the population, from the very poor to the very rich. We find a modest increase of the Gini coefficient, a substantial drop of median income and a remarkable growth of the income share accruing to the economic elite, which we define as the richest 0.001 percent of persons in the population. While the elite mainly obtains its income from business and capital, the income share that it receives in the form of wage income has been increasing. We also show that the dramatic decline of market income in the bottom half of the distribution is very much mitigated by income transfers within private households and by governmental redistribution.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: German Institute for Economic Research, Berlin (DIW Berlin) 2: Free University of Berlin, CEPR, CESifo, and IZA 3: Free University of Berlin, DIW Berlin, and IZA

Publication date: June 1, 2009

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