Month: May 2014

About that new “study” that supposedly vindicates Piketty…

Robert Murphy has an excellent post up today following a conversation about the new Saez-Zucman (2014) “study” of US wealth inequality that Piketty is currently trumpeting (see p. 7) as something of a vindication of his highly problematic and as-of-yet still unexplained Figure 10.5. The first takeaway is that Saez-Zucman (2014) isn’t really a study – …

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Remember the…War Revenue Act of 1898!

The federal revenue situation of the late 19th century United States presents a somewhat case study in constitutional political economy, owing to a fairly restrictive constitutional restraint on the means of raising revenue for the federal government. The U.S. Constitution provided Congress with the “Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises” as its primary means of taxation, …

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Addendum: Examining Piketty’s data sources for US Wealth Inequality

The original post that started my ongoing examination of Thomas Piketty’s data specifically examined a series of irregularities on Figure 10.5, one of his key graphs to sustain his thesis of a trend of increasing US wealth disparity since the 1970s. As I noted, Piketty seems to be using a decennial averaging technique to clean …

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Another Piketty Oddity

I mentioned in my previous post that Thomas Piketty really likes building decennial averages out of annual time series data. As part of the ongoing examination of his historical stats, let’s take a closer look at another one of his graphs, Figure 11.12 covering wealth transfers by inheritance as a percentage of national income across three European …

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More on Piketty

Following this afternoon’s post, I decided to dig a little further into Thomas Piketty’s data spreadsheets. I’ll start with two general observations: I. Decennial Averaging Piketty seems to have an inordinate fondness for converting his data  into decennial averages. Usually this is done by the not-terribly-sophisticated technique of simply adding up annual stats (or in many cases percentage …

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