Chart Detail

Average capital gains of the top 5% of the income distribution and the S&P 500 composite price index, 1979–2011

Note: Income distribution is for tax units. A tax unit consists of the people represented on a single tax return. Shaded areas denote recessions.

Source: Authors' analysis of Piketty and Saez (2012, Table A-6 and A-8) and Shiller (2012)

Updated June 18, 2012

Documentation and methodology

Underlying data are from Piketty and Saez (2012, Tables A-6 and A-8) and Shiller (2012). The inflation-adjusted S&P 500 data are taken directly from Shiller and converted into an index (1989=100). Income derived from realized capital gains is taken from Piketty and Saez (2012) and converted into an index as well. The Shiller data can be found at:, and the Piketty and Saez data can be found at:

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