OECD Economics Department Working Papers

ISSN: 
1815-1973 (online)
DOI: 
10.1787/18151973
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Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

 

Who are the top 1% earners in Europe? You or your institution have access to this content

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Author(s):
Oliver Denk1
Author Affiliations
  • 1: OECD, France

14 Dec 2015
Bibliographic information
No.:
1274
Pages:
58
DOI: 
10.1787/5jrp1g39gkzw-en

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Top earners have become the subject of intense public and scholarly debate. This is the first paper that comprehensively documents the profiles of the 1% highest paid employees across 18 European countries. The data come from the largest harmonised source available, an employer-based survey that covers the labour income of 10 million employees, excluding the self-employed. The patterns that emerge are broadly common across countries. Workers in the top 1% tend to be 40 to 60 years old, be men, have tertiary education, work in finance or manufacturing, and be senior managers. The analysis also uncovers several cross-country differences. For example, top earners are younger in Eastern Europe, and they include more women in countries with higher overall female employment. The new estimates in this paper are similar to related ones based on administrative records in the few countries for which such studies exist, indicating that the sample is broadly representative of the characteristics of top earners.
Keywords:
income inequality, Europe, earnings
JEL Classification:
  • D31: Microeconomics / Distribution / Personal Income, Wealth, and Their Distributions
  • D63: Microeconomics / Welfare Economics / Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
  • J21: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demand and Supply of Labor / Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
  • J31: Labor and Demographic Economics / Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs / Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
 
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