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Importing inequality: immigration and the top 1 percent

Arun Advani, Felix Koenig, Lorenzo Pessina and Andy Summers
IFS Working Paper W20/31

In this paper we study the contribution of migrants to the rise in UK top incomes. Using administrative data on the universe of UK taxpayers we show migrants are over-represented at the top of the income distribution, with migrants 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, predominately finance. Almost all (85%) of the growth in the UK top 1% income share over the past 20 years can be attributed to migration.

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