Pareto Models, Top Incomes, and Recent Trends in UK Income Inequality

184 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2016

See all articles by Stephen P. Jenkins

Stephen P. Jenkins

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Social Policy and Administration; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Abstract

I determine UK income inequality levels and trends by combining inequality estimates from tax return data (for the 'rich') and household survey data (for the 'non-rich'), taking advantage of the better coverage of top incomes in tax return data (which I demonstrate) and creating income variables in the survey data with the same definitions as in the tax data to enhance comparability. For top income recipients, I estimate inequality and mean income by fitting Pareto models to the tax data, examining specification issues in depth, notably whether to use Pareto I or Pareto II (generalised Pareto) models, and the choice of income threshold above which the Pareto models apply. The preferred specification is a Pareto II model with a threshold set at the 99th or 95th percentile (depending on year). Conclusions about aggregate UK inequality trends since the mid-1990s are robust to the way in which tax data are employed. The Gini coefficient for gross individual income rose by around 7% or 8% between 1996/97 and 2007/08, with most of the increase occurring after 2003/04. The corresponding estimate based wholly on the survey data is around –5%.

Keywords: inequality, top incomes, Pareto distribution, generalized Pareto distribution, survey under-coverage, HBAI, SPI

JEL Classification: C46, C81, D31

Suggested Citation

Jenkins, Stephen P., Pareto Models, Top Incomes, and Recent Trends in UK Income Inequality. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10124, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2822663

Stephen P. Jenkins (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Social Policy and Administration ( email )

Houghton Street
London, England WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom
+44 120 687 3374 (Phone)
+44 120 687 3151 (Fax)

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
34
Abstract Views
254
PlumX Metrics