Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Breaking Out the 0.1%

Greg Mankiw outlines who earns the 0.1% of national income:

Here is an interesting paper that answers the question. Some highlights from Table 3 about the top 0.1 percent:
  • 18 percent are financial professionals.
  • 42 percent are executives, managers, or supervisors in nonfinancial businesses. More than half of those are in closely-held (presumably often small) businesses.
  • 7 percent are lawyers.
  • 6 percent are in medicine.
  • 3 percent are in arts, media, or sports.
  • Less than 1 percent are professors or scientists.

Note that this is only as of 2005 (my guess is financial professional income spiked as a percent of 0.1% of income from 2005 to 2008). It also doesn't show that the 0.1% earned 2.8% of all income in 1979, but 7.3% in 2005, or how much the above figures changed over the years. The latter is outlined below (i.e. the shift to finance was dramatic).