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Does Financial Deregulation Boost Top Incomes? Evidence from the Big Bang

Julia Tanndal () and Daniel Waldenström ()
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Julia Tanndal: Department of Economics, Brown University
Daniel Waldenström: Uppsala Center for Labor Studies, Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

No 2016:2, Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies from Uppsala University, Department of Economics

Abstract: This study estimates the impact of financial deregulation on top income shares. Using the novel econometric method of constructing synthetic control groups, we show that the ”Big Bang”-deregulations in the United Kingdom in 1986 and Japan 1997–1999 increased the share of pre-tax incomes going to top earners by over 20 percent in the U.K. and over 10 percent in Japan. The effect is strongest in the top five percentiles in the U.K. whereas it is mainly driven by the lower part of the top decile in Japan. The findings are robust to placebo tests, alterna-tive ways to construct synthetic controls and scrutiny of post-treatment trends. Higher earnings among financial sector employees appear to be an important mechanism behind this result.

Keywords: Income inequality; Synthetic control method; Institutions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D31 G28 H24 J30 N20 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016-01-27
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