Importing inequality: Immigration and the top 1%Thursday 17 Sep 2020
Top incomes have grown rapidly in in the UK in recent decades, sparking debate about rising inequality in Western societies. New research shows that migration accounts for 85% of this top income growth.
Research by Arun Advani, Felix Koenig, Lorenzo Pessina, and Andy Summers analysing data on UK taxpayers shows that migrants are over-represented at the top of the UK income distribution. Migrants are twice as prevalent in the top 0.1% as anywhere in the bottom 97%. These high incomes are predominantly from labour, rather than capital, and migrants are concentrated in only a handful of industries, predominantly finance. Almost all (85%) of the growth in the UK top 1% income share over the past 20 years can be attributed to migration.
Read the research
Advani, A., Koenig, F., Pessina, L., and Summers, A. (2020), ‘Importing Inequality: Immigration and the Top 1 percent’, CAGE working papers (no. 508)
The research findings are summarised in the VOX article Importing inequality: Immigration and the top 1%
In the News
Does Immigration import inequality? The Economist, September 2020
Migrants responsible for UK's growth of top incomes and taxes, The Financial Times, September 2020
About a quarter of the UK's top earners are migrants, data shows, The Guardian, September 2020