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7 April 2022

Measuring and taxing top incomes and wealth

Few topics attract such intense political debate as top tax rates: in the UK, this has led to two top income tax rate reforms since the financial crisis. Recently, the measurement of top incomes and wealth has also proved controversial, in both the UK and the US. The chapter by Delestre et al. (2022) examines both of these issues. It first studies the distribution of income in the UK, focusing on the income sources and demographics of those at the top, as well as non-taxable sources of income. It then describes the current taxation of top incomes, and suggests some directions for reform. Mirroring this structure, in this commentary we discuss first the measurement of financial inequalities, focusing on top income and wealth shares, and then the scope for policy reforms to tackle some of the issues raised, also focusing on the UK.

Cite this as:

Advani, A. and Summers, A. (2022), ‘Measuring and taxing top incomes and wealth’, IFS Deaton Review of Inequalities,