Piketty and the increasing concentration of wealth: some implications of alternative theories of distribution and growth

CSWP 18 (March 2016)

Author Antonella Stirati

Keywords Piketty, inequality, income distribution, capitalist dynamics

JEL D31, E25, P10

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century has been spectacularly successful and a reason for this might be the fact that the theory that underlies his analysis is mainstream theory, with some adjustments or reservations on specific points, but never on the fundamentals. Thus, while Piketty’s empirical analysis often challenges received views and supports a non-apologetic view of capitalism’s dynamics, the book at the same time speaks a language which is common to mainstream economists around the world. This however is not always conducive to consistency and interpretative accuracy. A different theoretical perspective (and some empirical evidence) might lead to questioning some of the book’s central claims. 

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