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The comfortable, the rich, and the super-rich. What really happened to top British incomes during the first half of the twentieth century?

Scott, P. and Walker, J. (2020) The comfortable, the rich, and the super-rich. What really happened to top British incomes during the first half of the twentieth century? The Journal of Economic History, 80 (1). pp. 38-68. ISSN 1471-6372

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1017/S0022050719000767

Abstract/Summary

We examine shifts in British income inequality and their causes from 1911–1949. Using newly rediscovered Inland Revenue income distribution estimates, we show that Britain had an unusually high concentration of personal incomes in 1911 compared to other industrial nations. We also find that Britain’s substantial inequality reduction over the next four decades was largely driven by a collapse in top capital incomes. This parallels findings for France, the United States, and other western countries, that reduced inequality was mainly caused by declining top unearned incomes, owing to economic shocks, policy responses, and non-market mechanisms associated with the retreat from globalization.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Henley Business School > International Business and Strategy
ID Code:86558
Publisher:Cambridge University Press

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