City Research Online

Varieties of Top Incomes?

Hager, S. B. ORCID: 0000-0002-1205-3623 (2018). Varieties of Top Incomes?. Socio-Economic Review, 18(4), pp. 1175-1198. doi: 10.1093/ser/mwy036


Focusing on the advanced political economies, this article critically reviews the recent scholarship on the evolution of top incomes over the past few decades. The existing literature shows that the determination of top incomes is complex, multifaceted and bound up with factors associated with both politics and economics. Technological change and globalization are vital sources of change in contemporary capitalism, but the continued diversity in top income shares across the advanced capitalist world suggests that these forces alone cannot account for the empirical patterns. Instead, there is compelling evidence that power and politics, including government policy, trade union and left party strength, institutions and financialization, all play a pivotal role in regulating distributive outcomes. It is argued that future research will require a plurality of methodological approaches in order to clarify the complex causal process that drives top-end income concentration.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in 'Socio-Economic Review' following peer review. The version of record Hager, S. B. (2018). Varieties of Top Incomes?. Socio-Economic Review is available online at:
Publisher Keywords: income inequality, top incomes, advanced political economies, technological change, globalization, financialization, institutions
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
SWORD Depositor:
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