The GFC (Global Financial Crisis) hurt the world’s big income earners, sending their earnings on a slide, according to a study by the OECD.
In nine OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries for which data are available, the top 1% of earners saw their earnings fall by 3% in 2008 followed by an even bigger drop of 6.6% in 2009.
However, by 2010 the worst was over.
The incomes of the top 1% rose by 4% while pretty much everyone else’s stagnated.
In the US, the share of pre-tax income making its way to the top 1% has more than doubled since 1980, hitting 20% in 2012.
There were notable rises in other English-speaking countries including Australia, Canada, Ireland and the UK.
Even within the group of top-income earners, incomes became more concentrated, tilting towards the richest of the rich.
In the United States, the share of the top 0.1% grew from 2% to over 8% of total pre-tax incomes from 1980 to 2010.
By comparison, the top 0.1% account for 4% to 5% of total pre-tax incomes in Canada, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, and close to 3% in Australia, New Zealand and France.
Not much movement is observed at the top of the income distribution: from one year to the next, not more than 30% leave the group of the richest 1% in the United States, Canada and France, compared to around 40% in Australia.
This chart shows share of income by the top 1%:
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