Phillip W. Magness

U.S. Economic & Political History

How communism affects the inequality U-curve

| May 7, 2018

U-curves are all the rage in inequality studies. Increasingly viewed as a global phenomenon, the distribitional U-curve attempts to show changes in top income and wealth shares over the course of the last century. In other words, it tracks the holdings of the top 1%, 5%, or 10% and so forth over time. The common […]

Income inequality in the United States: it’s flatter than you probably realize

| May 1, 2018

Most economic discussions of inequality in the United States begin with a U-shaped curve. More specifically, they begin with historical estimates of top income shares (e.g. the top 10%, 5%, and 1%) as depicted in Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez’s famous 2003 paper on the subject. When these figures are displayed across the entire 20th […]