|Institutions|| Paris School of Economics |
School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences
London School of Economics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
|Field||Public economics, economic history|
|Alma mater|| École Normale Supérieure (MSc)|
London School of Economics/
School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (joint PhD)
|Influences||Simon Kuznets, Adam Smith, John Maynard Keynes, Anthony Atkinson|
|Awards|| Honorary Doctorate, University of Johannesburg (2015)|
Medalla Rectoral, Universidad de Chile (2015)
Yrjö Jahnsson Award (2013)
Prix du meilleur jeune économiste de France (2002)
|Information at IDEAS / RePEc|
Thomas Piketty (French: [tɔ.ma pi.kɛ.ti] ; born 7 May 1971) is a French economist who is Professor of Economics at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (French : École des hautes études en sciences sociales: EHESS), Associate Chair at the Paris School of Economics and Centennial Professor of Economics in the International Inequalities Institute at the London School of Economics.
Piketty's work focuses on public economics, in particular income and wealth inequality. He is the author of the best-selling book Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2013),which emphasises the themes of his work on wealth concentrations and distribution over the past 250 years. The book argues that the rate of capital return in developed countries is persistently greater than the rate of economic growth, and that this will cause wealth inequality to increase in the future. Piketty proposes improving the education systems and considers diffusion of knowledge, diffusion of skills, diffusion of idea of productivity as the main mechanism that will lead to lower inequality. In 2019, his book Capital and Ideology was published, which focuses on income inequality in various societies in history.
Piketty was born in the Parisian suburb of Clichy, Hauts-de-Seine. His parents had been involved with a Trotskyist group and the May 1968 protests in Paris but they had moved away from this political position before Piketty was born. A visit to the Soviet Union in 1991 was enough to make him a firm "believe[r] in capitalism, private property and the market".
Piketty earned an S-stream (scientific) Baccalauréat, and after taking scientific preparatory classes, he entered the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) at the age of 18 where he studied mathematics and economics.At the age of 22, Piketty was awarded his PhD for a thesis on wealth redistribution, which he wrote at the London School of Economics (LSE) and EHESS under Roger Guesnerie and winning the French Economics Association's award for the best thesis of the year.
After earning his PhD, Piketty taught from 1993 to 1995 as an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1995, he joined the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) as a researcher, and in 2000 he became a professor (directeur d'études) at EHESS.
Piketty won the 2002 prize for the best young economist in France, and according to a list dated 11 November 2003, he is a member of the scientific orientation board of the association À gauche, en Europe, founded by Michel Rocard and Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
In 2006, Piketty became the first head of the Paris School of Economics, which he helped set up.He left after a few months to serve as an economic advisor to Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal during the French presidential campaign. Piketty resumed teaching at the EHESS and Paris School of Economics in 2007.
He is a columnist for the French newspaper Libération and occasionally writes op-eds for Le Monde .
In April 2012, Piketty co-authored along with 42 colleagues an open letter in support of then socialist party candidate for the French presidency François Hollande.Hollande won the contest against the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in May of that year. Piketty was unimpressed by Hollande's tenure, later describing him as "hopeless".
In 2013, Piketty won the biennial Yrjö Jahnsson Award, for the economist under age 45 who has "made a contribution in theoretical and applied research that is significant to the study of economics in Europe."
In January 2015, he rejected the French Legion of Honour order, stating that he refused the nomination because he did not think it was the government's role to decide who is honourable.
On 27 September 2015, it was announced that he had been appointed to the British Labour Party's Economic Advisory Committee, convened by Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and reporting to Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn.The appointment of Piketty, who had previously advised Lord Wood, key policy advisor to former Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband, that tax rates could be raised above 50% for earnings over one million pounds without it impacting the economy, was seen as a particular coup for the Labour Party leadership due to his breakthrough success in the mainstream publishing world. Regarding this appointment he stated that he was very happy to take part and assist the Labour Party in constructing an economic policy that helps tackle some of the biggest issues facing people in the UK and that there was a brilliant opportunity for the Labour party to construct a fresh and new political economy which will expose austerity for the failure it has been in the UK and Europe, although he reportedly failed to attend the first meeting. In June 2016, he resigned from his role in Labour's Economic Advisory Committee, citing concerns over the weak campaign the party had run in the EU referendum.
On 2 October 2015, Piketty received an honorary doctorate from the University of Johannesburg and on 3 October 2015 he delivered the 13th Annual Nelson Mandela Lecture at the University of Johannesburg.
In 2015, Piketty was also elected an international member of the American Philosophical Society.
On 11 February 2017, it was announced that he had joined the socialist Benoît Hamon's campaign team in the latter's presidential run. He took in charge of EU matters, and more precisely, the Fiscal Stability Treaty (or TSCG), while Julia Cagé was responsible for the candidate's economic and fiscal platform. Piketty expressed his view that the TSCG should be renegotiated in order to introduce a eurozone assembly, composed of members of EU's parliaments – a "democratic government", he said, in comparison with the current system which he views as a "huis clos" (a "private, closed-door discussion", an in camera arrangement). Such change would currently require unanimous approval of all EU members, and Piketty has suggested that a change of rules might be necessary, saying that if countries representing 80% of EU's population or GDP ratify a treaty, it should be approved.He is also in favour of a "credible and bold basic income", which is one of Benoit Hamon's key proposals, although their views on the matter are different. The call in which Piketty and other economic researchers argue for their version of the basic income has been criticised as not "universal", a criticism he answered on his blog.
Thomas Piketty joined the London School of Economics (LSE) in 2015 as the distinguished Centennial Professor. Piketty continues his research as part of the LSE International Inequalities Institute. His economic research focusses mainly on wealth inequalities and the use of capital in the 21st century. Piketty has long-standing ties to the London School of Economics and he completed his PhD studies at the university in the early 1990s.
In addition to his research, Piketty also teaches post-graduate students at the LSE. His teaching and research approach is inter-disciplinary and he has been involved in the teaching of the new MSc degree in Inequalities and Social Science at the London School of Economics.
Piketty specializes in economic inequality, taking a historic and statistical approach.His work looks at the rate of capital accumulation in relation to economic growth over a two hundred year spread from the nineteenth century to the present. His novel use of tax records enabled him to gather data on the very top economic elite, who had previously been understudied, and to ascertain their rate of accumulation of wealth and how this compared to the rest of society and economy. His 2013 book Capital in the Twenty-First Century , relies on economic data going back 250 years to show that an ever-rising concentration of wealth is not self-correcting. To address this problem, he proposes redistribution through a progressive global tax on wealth.
A research project on high incomes in France led to the book Les hauts revenus en France au XXe siècle (High incomes in France in the 20th Century, Grasset, 2001), which was based on a survey of statistical series covering the whole of the 20th century, built from data from the fiscal services (particularly income tax declarations). He extended this analysis in his immensely popular book Le Capital au XXIe siècle ( Capital in the Twenty-First Century ). A study by Emmanuel Saez and Piketty showed that the top 10 percent of earners took more than half of the country's total income in 2012, the highest level recorded since the government began collecting the relevant data a century ago.
Piketty's work shows that differences in earnings dropped sharply during the 20th century in France, mostly after World War II. He argues that this was due to a decrease in estate inequalities, while wage inequalities remained stable. The shrinking inequality during this period, Piketty says, resulted from a highly progressive income tax after the war, which upset the dynamics of estate accumulation by reducing the surplus money available for saving by the wealthiest.[ citation needed ]
The normative conclusion Piketty draws is that a tax cut and thus a decrease in the financial contribution to society of the wealthy that has been happening in France since the late 1990s will assist in the rebuilding of the earlier large fortunes of the rentier class. This trend will lead to the rise of what he calls patrimonial capitalism, in which a few families control most of the wealth.
Through a statistical survey, Piketty also showed that the Laffer effect, which claims that high marginal tax rates on top incomes are an incentive for the rich to work less, was probably negligible in the case of France.
Piketty has done comparative work on inequality in other developed countries. In collaboration with other economists, particularly Emmanuel Saez, he built a statistical series based on a similar method used in his studies of France. This research led to reports on the evolution of inequalities in the US,and on economic dynamics in the English-speaking world and continental Europe. Saez won the prestigious John Bates Clark prize for this work.
The surveys found that following the Second World War, after initially undergoing a decrease in economic inequality similar to that in continental Europe, English-speaking countries have, over the past thirty years, experienced increasing inequalities.
Piketty's work has been discussed as a critical continuation of the pioneering work of Simon Kuznets in the 1950s.According to Kuznets, the long-term evolution of earnings inequalities was shaped as a curve (Kuznets curve). Growth started at the beginning of the industrial revolution, and slackened off later due to the reallocation of the labor force from low productivity sectors like agriculture to higher productivity sectors like industry.
According to Piketty, the tendency observed by Kuznets in the early 1950s is not necessarily a product of deep economic forces (e.g. sectoral spillover or the effects of technological progress). Instead, estate values, rather than wage inequalities, decreased, and they did so for reasons that were not specifically economic (for example, the creation of income tax). Consequently, the decrease would not necessarily continue, and in fact, inequalities have grown sharply in the United States over the last thirty years, returning to their 1930s level.
Besides these surveys, which make up the core of his work, Piketty has published in other areas, often with a connection to economic inequalities. His work on schools, for example, postulates that disparities among different schools, especially class sizes, are a cause for the persistence of inequalities in wages and the economy.He has also published proposals for changes in the French pension system and the French tax system. In a 2018 paper, Piketty suggested that throughout the Western world, political parties of both the left and the right have been captured by the "elites". Piketty's latest book, Capital and Ideology, argues it is necessary to examine the ideological systems which attempted to justify the forms of inequality specific to different institutional configurations. This work was well received, but some critics considered Piketty's work too vague. In particular, Nicolas Brisset criticized his definitions and analyses of "ideology" and "capitalism" for being too weak. Cleveland Review of Books praised the book, saying it "utilizes historical, political, and philosophical analysis to provide a sweeping and detailed account of the ideological context behind how what he calls “inequality regimes” sustain themselves."
Capital in the Twenty-First Century, published in 2013, focuses on wealth and income inequality in Europe and the US since the 18th century. The book's central thesis is that inequality is not an accident but rather a feature of capitalism that can be reversed only through state intervention.The book thus argues that unless capitalism is reformed, the very democratic order will be threatened. The book reached number one on The New York Times bestselling hardcover nonfiction list from 18 May 2014. Piketty offered a "possible remedy: a global tax on wealth".
In 2014, he was awarded the British Academy Medal for this book.
Thomas Piketty was the partner of the politician Aurélie Filippetti.
He is married to fellow economist Julia Cagé.
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| Library resources |
|By Thomas Piketty|
Economic history is the academic study of economies or economic events of the past. Research is conducted using a combination of historical methods, statistical methods and the application of economic theory to historical situations and institutions. The field can encompass a wide variety of topics, including equality, finance, technology, labour, and business. It emphasizes historicizing the economy itself, analyzing it as a dynamic force and attempting to provide insights into the way it is structured and conceived.
There are wide varieties of economic inequality, most notably measured using the distribution of income and the distribution of wealth. Besides economic inequality between countries or states, there are important types of economic inequality between different groups of people.
In economics, income distribution covers how a country's total GDP is distributed amongst its population. Economic theory and economic policy have long seen income and its distribution as a central concern. Classical economists such as Adam Smith (1723–1790), Thomas Malthus (1766–1834), and David Ricardo (1772–1823) concentrated their attention on factor income-distribution, that is, the distribution of income between the primary factors of production. Modern economists have also addressed issues of income distribution, but have focused more on the distribution of income across individuals and households. Important theoretical and policy concerns include the balance between income inequality and economic growth, and their often inverse relationship.
A wealth tax is a tax on an entity's holdings of assets. This includes the total value of personal assets, including cash, bank deposits, real estate, assets in insurance and pension plans, ownership of unincorporated businesses, financial securities, and personal trusts. Typically, liabilities are deducted from an individual's wealth, hence it is sometimes called a net wealth tax.
The Kuznets curve expresses a hypothesis advanced by economist Simon Kuznets in the 1950s and 1960s. According to this hypothesis, as an economy develops, market forces first increase and then decrease economic inequality. The Kuznets curve appeared to be consistent with experience at the time it was proposed. However, since the 1960s, inequality has risen in the US and other developed countries.
Sir Anthony Barnes Atkinson was a British economist, Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics, and senior research fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford.
The Paris School of Economics is a French research institute in the field of economics. It offers MPhil, MSc, and PhD level programmes in various fields of theoretical and applied economics, including macroeconomics, econometrics, political economy and international economics.
Redistribution of income and wealth is the transfer of income and wealth from some individuals to others through a social mechanism such as taxation, welfare, public services, land reform, monetary policies, confiscation, divorce or tort law. The term typically refers to redistribution on an economy-wide basis rather than between selected individuals.
Emmanuel Saez is a French, naturalized American economist who is Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley. His work, done with Thomas Piketty and Gabriel Zucman, includes tracking the incomes of the poor, middle class and rich around the world. Their work shows that top earners in the United States have taken an increasingly larger share of overall income over the last three decades, with almost as much inequality as before the Great Depression. He recommends much higher (marginal) taxes on the rich, up to 70% or 90%. He received the John Bates Clark Medal in 2009, a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship in 2010, and an honorary degree from Harvard University in 2019.
The Great Compression refers to "a decade of extraordinary wage compression" in the United States in the early 1940s. During that time, economic inequality as shown by wealth distribution and income distribution between the rich and poor became much smaller than it had been in preceding time periods. The term was reportedly coined by Claudia Goldin and Robert Margo in a 1992 paper, and is a takeoff on the Great Depression, an event during which the Great Compression started.
Capital in the Twenty-First Century is the magnum opus of the French economist Thomas Piketty. It focuses on wealth and income inequality in Europe and the United States since the 18th century. It was initially published in French in August 2013; an English translation by Arthur Goldhammer followed in April 2014.
Gabriel Zucman is a French economist known for his research on tax havens and corporate tax havens from his 2015 book The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens. Zucman is also known for his work on the quantification of the financial scale of base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) tax avoidance techniques employed by multinationals in corporate tax havens, through which he identified Ireland as the world's largest corporate tax haven in 2018. Zucman showed that the leading corporate tax havens are all OECD–compliant, and that tax disputes between high–tax locations and havens are very rare. Zucman's papers are some of the most cited papers on research into tax havens. In 2018, Zucman was the recipient of the Prize for the Best Young Economist in France, awarded by the Cercle des économistes and Le Monde in recognition of his research on tax evasion and avoidance and their economic consequences. He is currently an Associate Professor of Public Policy and Economics at the University of California, Berkeley‘s Goldman School of Public Policy.
Julia Cagé is a French economist specializing in development economics, political economy, and economic history.
World Inequality Report is a report by the World Inequality Lab at the Paris School of Economics that provides estimates of global income and wealth inequality based on the most recent findings compiled by the World Inequality Database (WID). WID, also referred to as WID.world, is an open source database, that is part of an international collaborative effort of over a hundred researchers in five continents. The World Inequality Report includes discussions on potential future academic research as well as content useful for public debates and policy related to economic inequality. The first report, entitled World Inequality Report 2018, which was released on December 14, 2017, at the Paris School of Economics during the first WID.world Conference, was compiled by Facundo Alvaredo, Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman based on WID data. The 300-page report cautions that since 1980, around the globe, there has been an increase in the gap between rich and poor. In Europe, the increase in inequality increased more moderately while in North America and Asia, the increase was rapid. In the Middle East, Africa, and Brazil, income inequality did not increase but remained at very high levels.
Camille Landais is a French economist who currently works as Professor of economics at the London School of Economics. His research focuses on public finance and labour economics. In 2016, Landais was awarded the Prize of Best Young Economist of France for his research on the relationship between changes in inequality and fiscal and social policy.
Stéfanie Stantcheva is a Bulgarian-born French economist who is a professor of economics at Harvard University. She is a member of the French Council of Economic Analysis. Her research focuses on public finance—in particular questions of optimal taxation. In 2018, she was selected by The Economist as one of the 8 best young economists of the decade. In 2020, she was awarded the Elaine Bennett Research Prize.
World Inequality Database (WID), previously The World Wealth and Income Database, also known as WID.world, is an extensive, open and accessible database "on the historical evolution of the world distribution of income and wealth, both within countries and between countries".
Capital and Ideology is a 2019 book by French economist Thomas Piketty. Capital and Ideology follows Piketty's 2013 book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which focused on wealth and income inequality in Europe and the United States.
Lucas Chancel is a French economist. He is Codirector and Senior economist at the World Inequality Lab of the Paris School of Economics and teaches at Sciences Po. He is also Codirector of the World Inequality Database and Research fellow at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations. He works on global inequality, European political economy and Sustainable development. He authored and co-authored several books on these topics.
After Piketty: The Agenda for Economics and Inequality is a 2017 collection of essays edited by the economists Heather Boushey, J. Bradford DeLong, and Marshall Steinbaum. The essays center on how to integrate inequality into economic thinking. Common themes are Thomas Piketty’s influence on academia and policy, the need for better wealth data, inequality in the United States, and the reasons for the process of wealth accumulation and rising inequality discussed by Piketty in his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2013). In the final entry, Piketty himself responds to the essays.
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