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Comparative Income Taxation Database (CITD)


The Comparative Income Taxation Database consists of yearly data on the top marginal income tax rate for a legal individual, and includes the amount from which the top marginal rate applies, what law governs the taxation, and the source of this information (law or consulted literature). The sample included in the data set consists of 20 countries. The time period covered for each country is 1800 (or independence) to 2010. A country is considered to have adopted a modern income tax system if an independent government levies taxes yearly on comprehensive and directly assessed forms of personal income.

Principal Investigator: 
Federica Genovese
Kenneth Scheve
David Stasavage
How to Cite this Dataset: 

Genovese, Federica, Kenneth Scheve, and David Stasavage. 2016. Comparative Income Taxation Database. [Computer file]. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Libraries. ‹›.

Scheve, Kenneth, and David Stasavage. 2016. Taxing the Rich: A History of Fiscal Fairness in the United States and Europe. Princeton and New York: Princeton University Press and Russell Sage Foundation.


Data for each country include six data fields. These fields are:

(i) Year - The calendar year. When a law was passed in the first half of the year (i.e., from January 1 to June 30), we coded the law as applying to the entire year in which it became effective. If a law was passed in the second half of the calendar year, i.e., from July 1 to December 31, we coded it as taking effect only in the subsequent year. In the case in which we have information on a rate but no access to the law that enforced such rate (e.g. when our knowledge is limited to secondary literature that does not report the enforcement date) we assume that this law was passed in December of the previous year, as it is tradition in many countries where financial legislation occurs at the end of the year before a financial bill is enacted.

(ii) Top rate in % - The top rate in percent is the highest marginal rate of the direct tax that an independent government levies yearly on comprehensive and directly assessed forms of personal income. We concentrate on the statutory rate. If there are several taxes that affect income taxation (say, when there are mixed capital and income revenue duties or when there are surcharges), the top rate reflects the combined burden arising from all these taxes taken together. The top marginal rate refers only to the national (or federal) tax. We report information on the legislation and additional local rates and sub-central tax policies in the codebook.

(iii) Top rate applies from - The amount at which the top marginal tax rate becomes effective.

(iv) Applicable law - Name of the law(s) that governs income taxation or introduces changes. Laws that do not affect the top marginal rate (e.g. revisions to the income brackets to adjust tax to inflation) or laws already in "top rate applies from" are not listed.

(v) Source - Source where the information provided in (i)-(iv) can be found.

(vi) Comments - Provides relevant additional information, if any.


This dataset was compiled with research assistance from Michael Aklin, Quintin Beazer, Laurens Defau, Aaron Egolf, Marko Karttunen, Risa Kitagawa, Krista Ryu, and Rory Truex. We also thank Debasis Bandyopadhyay (New Zealand), Wantje Fritschy (Netherlands), Egbert Jongen (Netherlands), Anton Rainer (Austria), Muireann Toibin (Ireland), Daniel Waldenstrom (Sweden), Nico Wilterdink (Netherlands) for data and consultation.

Yearly data on the top marginal income tax rate for a legal individual from 1800 (or independence) to 2010 in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States.
Unit of Analysis: 
Type of data collection: 
Historical comparative data
Time span: 
Time of data collection: 
Sample description: 

Data were collected from legislative archives and secondary literature.

Data Download Link(s)
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  1. The data I download from the Data Archive will not be used to identify individuals.
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  4. I will cite the data appropriately.
    (See each data page for its bibliographic citation.)

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News Coverage: 

Kenneth Scheve and David Stasavage (2013) “Is the Estate Tax Doomed?” . New York Times March 24th.