More Piketty Rebutty
Further to my post about Thomas Piketty yesterday, which mentioned that Prof James Galbraith was a doubter, he has been in touch to draw my attention to a new paper by a colleague of his, Wenjie Zhang, which suggests that income inequality in China peaked in 2008, as Simon Kuznets would predict (and Piketty would not).
The paper is based on data from the state statistical yearbook, which have limitations of coverage, but Galbraith says that these measures track survey-based measures well in practice, and are available much earlier. Using the same technique, Galbraith and Zhang detected declining inequality in Brazil and Argentina in 2006, some years before anyone else.
None of this proves the Piketty thesis wrong. As far as I can tell, this is that capital tends to accumulate faster than the rate of general economic growth, thus tending to concentrate wealth within advanced capitalist countries.
But Galbraith’s work does point out that other things are going on which might make the Piketty thesis an unreliable generalisation.Tagged in: economics, equality, inequality, thomas piketty
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