Evidence from Unique Swiss Tax Data on the Composition and Joint Distribution of Income and Wealth
I compose a unique, new dataset using individual income and wealth tax data from eight Swiss cantons. I describe the data in detail and show that it is representative for Switzerland as a whole. Next, I present a set of empirical facts regarding the distribution of wealth and income in Switzerland. I shed light on the composition of wealth and income along the distribution, including the very top. I find substantial heterogeneity in the composition for different population groups. Real estate wealth is held only by the upper half of the wealth distribution. Most importantly, due to the strong age-wealth gradient, age has an important influence on the composition as well as on the joint distribution of income and wealth. At any income level except for the bottom quintile, retirees are more likely to be higher up in the wealth distribution than non-retirees—including at the very top of the wealth distribution. Overall, I find a strong correlation between income and wealth, combined with a pronounced tail dependence, especially at the top. Taking age into account, gender differences in wealth levels are small. They are more pronounced in the income distribution, where women also rely more on transfer income than on labor income compared to men.
I appreciate financial the support from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Research Grant No. 176458 "The Influence of Taxation on Wealth and Income Inequality" for this project.