nep-ltv New Economics Papers
on Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty
Issue of 2017‒10‒08
eight papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Tony Atkinson and his legacy By Rolf Aaberge; François Bourguignon; Andrea Brandolini; Francisco H. G. Ferreira; Janet C. Gornick; John Hills; Markus Jäntti; Stephen P. Jenkins; Eric Marlier; John Micklewright; Brian Nolan; Thomas Piketty; Walter J. Radermacher; Timothy M. Smeeding; Nicholas H. Stern; Joseph Stiglitz; Holly Sutherland
  2. Global Inequality Dynamics: New Findings from By Facundo Alvaredo; Lucas Chancel; Thomas Piketty; Emmanuel Saez; Gabriel Zucman
  3. Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States By Thomas Piketty; Emmanuel Saez; Gabriel Zucman
  4. Income Inequality in France, 1900-2014: Evidence from Distributional National Accounts By Bertrand Garbinti; Jonathan Goupille-Lebret; Thomas Piketty
  5. Accounting for Wealth Inequality Dynamics: Methods, Estimates and Simulations for France (1800-2014) By Bertrand Garbinti; Jonathan Goupille-Lebret; Thomas Piketty
  6. Distributional National Accounts (DINA) Guidelines : Concepts and Methods used in By Facundo Alvaredo; Anthony Atkinson; Lucas Chancel; Thomas Piketty; Emmanuel Saez; Gabriel Zucman
  7. Appendix to "From Soviets to Oligarchs: Inequality and Property in Russia, 1905-2016" By Filip Novokmet; Thomas Piketty; Gabriel Zucman
  8. Top wealth shares in the UK over more than a century. By Facundo Alvaredo; Anthony Atkinson; Salvatore Morelli

  1. By: Rolf Aaberge (Research Department, Statistics Norway and ESOP, Department of Economics, University of Oslo); François Bourguignon (Paris School of Economics); Andrea Brandolini (DG Economics, Statistics and Research, Bank of Italy); Francisco H. G. Ferreira (Development Economics Research Group, The World Bank); Janet C. Gornick (LIS and The Graduate Center, City University of New York); John Hills (London School of Economics); Markus Jäntti (Swedish Institute for Social Research, Stockholm University); Stephen P. Jenkins (London School of Economics); Eric Marlier (Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER)); John Micklewright (University College London); Brian Nolan (University of Oxford); Thomas Piketty (Paris School of Economics); Walter J. Radermacher (Former Director General of Eurostat); Timothy M. Smeeding (University of Wisconsin-Madison); Nicholas H. Stern (London School of Economics); Joseph Stiglitz (Columbia University); Holly Sutherland (Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex)
    Abstract: 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 economics. His death on 1 January 2017 deprived the world of both an intellectual giant and a deeply committed public servant in the broadest sense of the term. This collective tribute highlights the range, depth and importance of Tony’s enormous legacy, the product of over fifty years’ work.
    Keywords: Anthony B. Atkinson, inequality, poverty, public economics, economic theory, economic policy
    JEL: A1 B32 D3 D6 H00 I3
    Date: 2017–09
  2. By: Facundo Alvaredo (Paris School of Economics); Lucas Chancel (Paris School of Economics); Thomas Piketty (Paris School of Economics); Emmanuel Saez (University of California at Berkeley); Gabriel Zucman (University of California at Berkeley)
    Abstract: This paper presents new findings on global inequality dynamics from the World Wealth and Income Database (, 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 magnitude of the increase varies substantially, thereby suggesting that different country-specific policies and institutions matter considerably. Long-run wealth inequality dynamics appear to be highly unstable. We stress the need for more democratic transparency on income and wealth dynamics and better access to administrative and financial data.
    Date: 2017–01
  3. By: Thomas Piketty (Paris School of Economics); Emmanuel Saez (University of California at Berkeley); Gabriel Zucman (University of California at Berkeley)
    Abstract: This paper combines tax, survey, and national accounts data to estimate the distribution of national income in the United States since 1913. Our distributional national accounts capture 100% of national income, allowing us to compute growth rates for each quantile of the income distribution consistent with macroeconomic growth. We estimate the distribution of both pre-tax and post-tax income, making it possible to provide a comprehensive view of how government redistribution affects inequality. Average pre-tax national income per adult has increased 60% since 1980, but we find that it has stagnated for the bottom 50% of the distribution at about $16,000 a year. The pre-tax income of the middle class—adults between the median and the 90th percentile—has grown 40% since 1980, faster than what tax and survey data suggest, due in particular to the rise of tax-exempt fringe benefits. Income has boomed at the top: in 1980, top 1% adults earned on average 27 times more than bottom 50% adults, while they earn 81 times more today. The upsurge of top incomes was first a labor income phenomenon but has mostly been a capital income phenomenon since 2000. The government has offset only a small fraction of the increase in inequality. The reduction of the gender gap in earnings has mitigated the increase in inequality among adults. The share of women, however, falls steeply as one moves up the labor income distribution, and is only 11% in the top 0.1% today.
    Date: 2016–12
  4. By: Bertrand Garbinti (Banque de France); Jonathan Goupille-Lebret (Paris School of Economics); Thomas Piketty (Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: 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 over the 1970-2014 period. Our DINA-based estimates allow for a much richer analysis of the long-run pattern found in previous tax-based series, i.e. a long-run decline in income inequality, largely due to a sharp drop in the concentration of wealth and capital income following the 1914-1945 capital shocks. First, our new series deliver higher inequality levels than the usual tax-based series for the recent decades, because the latter miss a rising part of capital income. Growth incidence curves look dramatically different for the 1950-1983 and 1983-2014 sub-periods. We also show that it has become increasingly difficult in recent decades to access top wealth groups with labor income only. Next, gender inequality in labor income declined in recent decades, albeit fairly slowly among top labor incomes E.g. female share among top 0.1% earners was only 12% in 2012 (vs. 7% in 1994 and 5% in 1970). Finally, we find that distributional changes can have large impact on comparisons of well-being across countries. E.g. average pre-tax income among bottom 50% adults is 30% larger in France than in the U.S., in spite of the fact that aggregate per adult national income is 30% smaller in France.
    Date: 2017–04
  5. By: Bertrand Garbinti (Banque de France); Jonathan Goupille-Lebret (Paris School of Economics); Thomas Piketty (Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: 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 large decline of the top 10% wealth share from the 1910s to the 1980s (from 80-90% of total wealth during the 19th century up until World War 1, down to 50-60% in the 1980s),mostly to the benefit of the middle 40% of the distribution(the bottom 50% wealth share is always less than 10%). Since the 1980s-90s, we observe a moderate rise of wealth concentration, with large fluctuations due to asset price movements. In effect, rising inequality in saving rates and rates of return pushes toward rising wealth concentration, in spite of the contradictory effect of housing prices. We develop a simple simulation model highlighting how the combination of unequal saving rates, rates of return and labor earnings leads to large multiplicative effects and high steady-state wealth concentration. Small changes in the key parameters appear to matter a lot for long-run inequality. We discuss the conditions under which rising concentration is likely to continue in the coming decades.
    Date: 2017–04
  6. By: Facundo Alvaredo (Paris School of Economics); Anthony Atkinson (Oxford University); Lucas Chancel (Paris School of Economics); Thomas Piketty (Paris School of Economics); Emmanuel Saez (University of California at Berkeley); Gabriel Zucman (University of California at Berkeley)
    Date: 2016–12
  7. By: Filip Novokmet (Paris School of Economics); Thomas Piketty (Paris School of Economics); Gabriel Zucman (University of California at Berkeley)
    Abstract: This appendix supplements our paper and describes the full set of data files and computer codes ( that were used to construct the series.
    Date: 2017–07
  8. By: Facundo Alvaredo (Paris School of Economics); Anthony Atkinson (Oxford University); Salvatore Morelli (Centro Studi di Economia e Finanza)
    Abstract: Recent research highlighted controversy about the evolution of concentration of personal wealth. In this paper we provide new evidence about the long-run evolution of top wealth shares for the United Kingdom. The new series covers a long period – from 1895 to the present – and has a different point of departure from the previous literature: the distribution of estates left at death. We find that the application to the estate data of mortality multipliers to yield estimates of wealth among the living does not substantially change the degree of concentration over much of the period both, in the UK and US, allowing inferences to be made for years when this method cannot be applied. The results show that wealth concentration in the UK remained relatively constant during the first wave of globalization, but then decreased dramatically in the period from 1914 to 1979. The UK went from being more unequal in terms of wealth than the US to being less unequal. However, the decline in UK wealth concentration came to an end around 1980, and since then there is evidence of an increase in top shares, notably in the distribution of wealth excluding housing in recent years. We investigate the triangulating evidence provided by data on capital income concentration and on reported super fortunes.
    Date: 2016–12

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