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Thomas Piketty

in Economist of the Month

Thomas Piketty

Thomas Piketty (born on 7 May 1971) is a French economist who works on wealth and income inequality. He is professor (directeur d’études) at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), professor at the Paris School of Economics and Centennial professor at the London School of Economics new International Inequalities Institute (III).

He is the author of the best-selling book Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2013), which emphasizes 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. He considers that to be a problem, and to address it, he proposes redistribution through a progressive global tax on wealth.

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.

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