Background Research: the Rise of Income Inequality



If you had any chance of reading any mildly progressive magazine, blog or column in the past couple of weeks, you surely have heard of Thomas Piketty. His book, “Capital in the 21st Century” analyzes the rise of inequality in the developed world and its consequences.

The book deserves all the praise it is receiving (I am reading it right now); here are some links to reviews, articles and studies for those that want to read more on the subject:

  • Vox has an excellent overview of the book, with a great summary of its conclusions.
  • Tyler Cowen´s review of the book is excellent, and some of his objections are worth considering.
  • They also have published a long interview with Piketty that is well worth a read. He takes time to address some of Cowen´s objections, making it a great follow up read.
  • Another interview, this time with Chris Hayes (video).
  • Ironically, Piketty´s rock star status (the book is a best seller) partially validates one of the explanations of rising inequality: the superstar hypothesis.
  • Some comments of a parallel discussion on the effects of globalization and the rise of the robots. Yes, it is a real debate.
  • Illustrating the rise of income inequality, this NYT article about the fall of the American middle class is a must read – the graphs are fascinating.
  • Inequality has a devastating effect on social mobility – and the geographical distribution of income inequality has an even more pronounced effect. This study, paired with the very high levels of income segregation in Connecticut, should worry us.

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