Top Floor, Going Up

An updated version of my research with Tony Atkinson on top incomes is written up by John Garnaut in the SMH today. There’s not much there to surprise regular readers of this blog. But since it’s not every day that I crack the front page of the SMH, I thought I’d indulge in some shameless self-promotion.

Alas, Cathy Wilcox’s accompanying cartoon isn’t available online.

Update: I did an interview for Today Tonight on top incomes this morning. We were in a courtyard garden at Parliament House, and the reporter had to keep stopping the interview to prevent her two-year old son from falling into the fountain, pulling all the heads off the flowers, etc. Twas one of the more entertaining interviews I’ve done recently, but when it’s edited for TV (should be on tomorrow or the night after), I may end up looking like I have attention deficit disorder.

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7 Responses to Top Floor, Going Up

  1. Andrew Norton says:

    Again, MSM many weeks behind blogs!

  2. Jorma Penttinen says:

    Dear Andrew,

    One think I’d like to see brought into you interesting analysis is tax evasion. When we talk about wealth there’s a great deal of grey operations going on connected to foreign accounts, which are nominally situated in the so called tax havens. With freeing of capital markets and electronic trading, tax evasion and tax avoidance seems to have grown exponentially. Today it’s a lot more easier to make your money disappear in the grey world of tax havens than it was, say, thirty years ago.

    For example Murdoch’s News Corporation did not pay any taxes from its vast profits in late 1990’s (Guardian investigation). Of course he’s not an Australian nowadays but one would think that they used “normal” accounting practices.

    Profits are thus concealed from taxman’s eys, and in our analysis there has grown a huge tax avoiding industry in the last twenty years.
    This has had an enormous effect on income distribution.

    And as I understood from you data description, this issue is bypassed in your paper. As long as the amount of funds held by individuals in offshore tax havens is about 11.5 trillion US dollars (see http://www.taxjustice.net/cms/upload/pdf/Price_of_Offshore.pdf), one can hardly estimate from official tax records how much top income earners actually earn.

    Yours

    Jorma Penttinen
    Nordic Tax Justice Network

  3. Pingback: New Economist

  4. An interesting paper, Andrew, which Mark Thoma has guest posted about on my weblog New Economist: The debate over inequality

  5. Peter says:

    One of the complaints I’ve seen made against Tony Blair by British newspaper editors is that he grants them interviews in his private residence (upstairs in No. 11 Downing Street, next door to his official office in No. 10), with his children running loudly in and out, and even, sometimes, dragging the journos into the kids’ rooms while he plays with them on the floor (the kids, not the journos). Somehow, I can’t imagine Gordon Brown doing this when he becomes PM.

  6. Andrew Leigh says:

    NewEconomist, aren’t you supposed to be taking a holiday?!

  7. derrida derider says:

    As I’ve long said, the right perspective on this (and on many other features of modern capitalism) is not to see the changes since the 1970s as anomalous, but to see the previous period (say 1942-1972) as the anomaly. The beast is just returning to its nature.

    Roll on the new Gilded Age.

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