Thomas Piketty's research while affiliated with Ecole d'économie de Paris and other places

Publications (151)

Article
The objective of this paper is to better understand the evolution and institutional roots of Hong Kong's growing economic inequality and political cleavages. By combining multiple sources of data (household surveys, fiscal data, wealth rankings, national accounts) and methodological innovations, two main findings are obtained. First, he evidence su...
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This article first describes the main developments in measuring the upper tail of the income and wealth distributions over the last twenty years. Second, it points out some of the key methodological challenges and how better data could address them. Third, it discusses the academic and policy impacts of upper tail measurement.
Chapter
This short concluding essay reflects on the application of ideas about capital accumulation and inequality to the societies of classical antiquity, and the relevance of Greco-Roman antiquity to the broader study of capital and inequality.KeywordsCapitalInequality
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In this paper, we mobilize newly available historical series from the World Inequality Database to construct world income distribution estimates from 1820 to 2020. We find that the level of global income inequality has always been very large, reflecting the persistence of a highly hierarchical world economic system. Global inequality increased betw...
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This article sheds new light on the long-run evolution of political cleavages in 21 Western democracies. We exploit a new database on the socioeconomic determinants of the vote, covering over 300 elections held between 1948 and 2020. In the 1950s and 1960s, the vote for social democratic, socialist, and affiliated parties was associated with lower-...
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We assess income inequality across French and British colonial empires between 1920 and 1960, exploiting for the first time income tax tabulations. As measured by top income shares, inequality was high in colonies. Europeans comprised the bulk of top income earners, and only a minority of autochthons could compete income-wise. Top income shares wer...
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We define generalized Pareto curves as the curve of inverted Pareto coefficients b(p), where b(p) is the ratio between average income above rank p and the p‐th quantile Q(p) (i.e., ). We use them to characterize income distributions. We develop a method to flexibly recover a continuous distribution based on tabulated income data as is generally ava...
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This paper draws on political attitudes surveys to document the evolution of political cleavages in Botswana, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal, four African countries that have held regular multi-party elections in the past two decades. We discuss how colonialism, the politicization of ethnic identities, and the structure of social inequalities have dif...
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Measuring and understanding the evolution of wealth inequality is a key challenge for researchers, policy makers, and the general public. This paper breaks new ground on this topic by presenting a new method to estimate and study wealth inequality. This method combines fiscal data with household surveys and national accounts in order to provide ann...
Preprint
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This paper draws on political attitudes surveys to document the evolution of political cleavages in light of inequality dynamics in Algeria (2002-2018), Iraq (2005-2018), and Turkey (1991-2018). We investigate how social divides and ethno-religious conflicts shape voting behaviors in these three countries through their interaction with the voting s...
Article
We combine household surveys and national accounts, as well as recently released tax data to track the dynamics of Indian income inequality from 1922 to 2015. According to our benchmark estimates, the top 1 percent of earners captured less than 21 percent of total income in the late 1930s, before dropping to 6 percent in the early 1980s and rising...
Article
We combine national accounts, surveys, and new tax data to study the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth in China from 1978 to 2015. The national wealth-income ratio increased from 350 percent in 1978 to 700 percent in 2015, while the share of public property in national wealth declined from 70 percent to 30 percent. We provide sharp...
Article
This paper develops a simplified methodology to distribute total national income across income groups that reproduces closely the sophisticated methodology of Piketty, Saez, and Zucman (2018). It starts from top income share series based on fiscal income of Piketty and Saez (2003) and makes two basic assumptions on how national income components no...
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This paper combines surveys, election results and social spending data to document a long-run evolution of political cleavages in India. The transition from a dominant-party system to a fragmented system characterised by several smaller regionalist parties and, more recently, the Bharatiya Janata Party, coincides with the rise of religious division...
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In this paper we combine household surveys, national accounts, income tax data and wealth data in order to estimate income concentration in the Middle East for the period 1990–2016. According to our benchmark series, the Middle East appears to be the most unequal region in the world, with a top decile income share as large as 64 percent, compared t...
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This paper combines national accounts, survey, wealth and fiscal data (including recently released tax data on high-income taxpayers) in order to provide consistent series on the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth in Russia from the Soviet period until the present day. We find that official survey-based measures vastly under-estimat...
Article
This paper combines national accounts, survey, wealth, and fiscal data (including recently released tax data on high-income taxpayers) in order to provide consistent series on the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth in China and Russia over the 1978–2015 period. We contrast the different privatization strategies implemented in the tw...
Article
We present new evidence on global inequality and growth since 1980 using the World and Wealth Income Database. We plot the curve of cumulated growth from 1980 to 2016 by percentile of the global distribution of income per adult. This curve has an elephant shape due to high growth rates at the median (fast growth in China and India), modest growth r...
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This paper presents “Distributional National Accounts” (DINA) for France. That is, we combine national accounts, tax and survey data in a comprehensive and consistent manner to build homogenous annual series on the distribution of national income by percentiles over the 1900–2014 period, with detailed breakdown by age, gender and income categories...
Article
Tony Atkinson is universally celebrated for his outstanding contributions to the measurement and analysis of inequality, but he never saw the study of inequality as a separate branch of economics. He was an economist in the classical sense, rejecting any sub-field labelling of his interests and expertise, and he made contributions right across econ...
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Tony Atkinson is universally celebrated for his outstanding contributions to the measurement and analysis of inequality, but he never saw the study of inequality as a separate branch of economics. He was an economist in the classical sense, rejecting any sub-field labelling of his interests and expertise, and he made contributions right across econ...
Article
This paper presents new findings on global inequality dynamics from the World Wealth and Income Database (WID.world), with particular emphasis on the contrast between the trends observed in the United States, China, France, and the United Kingdom. We observe rising top income and wealth shares in nearly all countries in recent decades. But the magn...
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This paper provides historical series on the evolution of the share of inherited wealth in aggregate private wealth in Europe (France, the UK, Germany, Sweden) and the USA over the 1900–2010 period. Until 1910, the inheritance share was very high in Europe (70–80%). It then fell abruptly following the 1914–45 shocks, down to about 30–40% during the...
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This paper combines different sources and methods (income tax data, inheritance registers, national accounts, wealth surveys) in order to deliver consistent, unified wealth distribution series by percentiles for France over the 1800-2014 period, with detailed breakdowns by age, gender, income and assets over the 1970-2014 sub-period. We find a larg...
Article
This paper presents new findings on global inequality dynamics from the World Wealth and Income Database (WID.world), with particular emphasis on the contrast between the trends observed in the United States, China, France, and the United Kingdom. We observe rising top income and wealth shares in nearly all countries in recent decades. But the magn...
Article
In the interview, Prof. Piketty expressed his skepticism about economists' tendencies toward using formal models. Early on, he recognized the limits of an economic approach that was applied in ignorance of history. This profoundly affected his future academic career. He admits that his successful research on inequality was possible only in cooperat...
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This chapter offers an overview of the empirical and theoretical research on the long-run evolution of wealth and inheritance. Wealth-income ratios, inherited wealth, and wealth inequalities were high in the eighteenth to nineteenth centuries up until World War I, then sharply dropped during the twentieth century following World War shocks, and hav...
Research
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In this paper, we construct a global distribution of individual CO2e emissions, taking into account within country inequalities and use it to examine different strategies to increase the volume of climate adaptation finance, based on the principle of progressive carbon taxation.
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Response to HAU Book Symposium on Piketty, Thomas. 2014. Capital in the twenty-first century. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University.
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This article attempts to clarify certain points raised in my book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century . In particular, I try to lay the foundations for a multidimensional history of capital and power relations between social classes. I study the way different forms of ownership lead to specific structures of inequality and social and institutional...
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In this article, I present some of the findings of my book Capital in the 21st Century. In particular, I clarify the role played by r > g in my analysis of wealth inequality. I also discuss some of the implications for optimal taxation, and the relation between capital-income ratios and capital shares.
Article
When a lengthy book is widely discussed in academic circles and the popular media, it is probably inevitable that the arguments of the book will be simplified in the telling and retelling. In the case of my book Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2014), a common simplification of the main theme is that because the rate of return on capital r exce...
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In this article, I seek to sharpen the discussion about my book Capital in the twenty-first century, and to address some of the many issues raised by the very interesting papers that were put together by the editors of Basic Income Studies. I start by summarizing the multidimensional approach to capital and power that I develop in my book. I then c...
Article
Dans le cadre de cet article, Thomas Piketty ne peut répondre à tous les points soulevés et de rendre justice à la richesse de ces textes. Il voudrait simplement tenter de préciser un petit nombre de questions, et de clarifier certains éléments sans doute insuffisamment mis en valeur dans le livre.
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I am most grateful to the editors of the British Journal of Sociology for putting together such an impressive set of review papers about my book. I am very honoured by the very thoughtful essays written by such a distinguished group of scholars coming from sociology, political science, anthropology, history, geography and economics. I warmly thank...
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How do aggregate wealth-to-income ratios evolve in the long run and why? We address this question using 1970–2010 national balance sheets recently compiled in the top eight developed economies. For the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and France, we are able to extend our analysis as far back as 1700. We find in every country a gradual rise`...
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This Review presents basic facts regarding the long-run evolution of income and wealth inequality in Europe and the United States. Income and wealth inequality was very high a century ago, particularly in Europe, but dropped dramatically in the first half of the 20th century. Income inequality has surged back in the United States since the 1970s so...
Book
In this article, I present three key facts about income and wealth inequality in the long run emerging from my book Capital in the Twenty-First Century and seek to sharpen and refocus the discussion about those trends. In particular, I clarify the role played by r > g in my analysis of wealth inequality. I also discuss some of the implications for...