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Top incomes and income dynamics from a gender perspective

Working Paper 2018-469

Abstract

In this paper I study Finnish top incomes from a gender perspective using the Finnish register-based panel data over the period of 1995-2012. I find that that the under-representation of women at the top has been quite persistent in the overall top but the proportion of women in the top 1% has increased over 18 years. Women’s wage share at the top has increased while the self-employment income has decreased. The top income females more often have an entrepreneurial background and are more often sharing a household with a high-income spouse. The gender-specific income distributions show that female incomes are less dispersed. In this study I also test whether top incomes can be assumed to be Pareto distributed. While the joint and men’s top income distributions can be approximated with Pareto distribution throughout the observation period, the Pareto assumption gets more support for women after the year 2000. The female top income receivers have caught up with top earning men over time but I also show that females are more likely to move downwards from the top than men.

Authors: Terhi Ravaska.

Keywords: income distribution, gender inequality, top incomes, income mobility.
JEL: D31, J16, D63, D30.