American Sociological Association

The Rise of the Super-Rich: Power Resources, Taxes, Financial Markets, and the Dynamics of the Top 1 Percent, 1949 to 2008

The income share of the super-rich in the United States has grown rapidly since the early 1980s after a period of postwar stability. What factors drove this change? In this study, we investigate the institutional, policy, and economic shifts that may explain rising income concentration. We use single-equation error correction models to estimate the long- and short-run effects of politics, policy, and economic factors on pretax top income shares between 1949 and 2008. We find that the rise of the super-rich is the result of rightward-shifts in Congress, the decline of labor unions, lower tax rates on high incomes, increased trade openness, and asset bubbles in stock and real estate markets.

Authors

Thomas W. Volscho, Nathan J. Kelly

Volume

77

Issue

5

Starting Page

679

Ending Page

699