Top Incomes

Durante la última década, la evidencia empírica sobre la concentración de ingresos en el 1% más rico de la población (cita a Atkinson) , ha despertado un resurgimiento del interés en temas distributivos dentro de la Economía. Tanto en EEUU como en los países de Europa hay una tendencia creciente sobre una mayor participación del 1% más rico, lo cal implica una desafección entre el rendimiento de la economía y lo que está percibiendo la población como mejoras en su bienestar. (cita OECD).

Over the las decade, empirical evidence on the richest 1%'s income share (see atkinson) has spurred a surge of interest on distributives issues. In the US as in Europe, there is an upward tendency in the top 1% income share, which entails a divorce between economic growth and the rate of improvement, for the general population, of material walfare.

In order to exploit this line of inquiry, reasearhcers around the world undertook the construction of the World Top Incomes Database (WTID), a pioneering major effort that aims to faciclitate the study and comparision of income and wealth distribution's evolution for as many countries and as many years as possible, with emphasis in tax records data. It started with a study of top incomes in France, by Piketty (cita). which gave way to a series of similar studies for other countries. The WTID contains periodically updated data on over 20 countries, allowing researchers to add new observations, either on new volumes of tables or as additions to already existent volumes. There are 22 countries included in the fisrt two volumnes of the WTID , but a total of 42 countries will appear in the next volume, to be publish soon and ready to be used to further promote work in this area.

Besides the original intention to capture historical trends on income shares, the projects has also compiled on wealth and corporate earinings distributions.

The construction of such a database on ditributive facts, over long historic periods and comparable between countries, is an invaluable addition to this field of study, since it brings the means to generate research in dimensions that were unfeasible a few years back.

This is specially important issue for countries with elevated levels of inequality, of which Chile, the most unequal country in the OECD, is a prominent example.

This worldwide phenomenon of wealth concentration should taken seriously by local authorities, since there is no guaranties that tgeh already high levels of inequalitiy will stabilize or revert by themselves over time.