Phillip W. Magness

Historian – 19th century United States

Different Measurements of Income Inequality – the interwar Wisconsin Example

| May 16, 2017

I have a new paper, co-written with Vincent Geloso, on the measurement of inequality in Wisconsin between 1919 and 1941. The discussion’s geography may initially seem obscure, but there’s a method to this investigation. In the early part of the 20th century Wisconsin had a stable state income tax system and, more importantly, generated high quality […]

Why Piketty-Saez yields an unreliable inequality estimate before World War II

| April 8, 2017

Next week I will be co-presenting a paper at the APEE conference on the reliability of historical estimates of income inequality in the United States. Our paper examines and offers a number of corrections to the widely cited income inequality time series by Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez (2003). This series provides the baseline for […]

Piketty, Saez-Zucman, and the primacy of high progressive taxation

| October 28, 2014

Earlier this year I blogged at length about a series of data errors, large and small, in Thomas Piketty’s bestselling book Capital in the 21st Century (a summary of Piketty’s remaining errors may be found here, and an extended discussion of Piketty’s misuse of Soviet Union data assumptions to produce a desired result may be found here). One of […]