Our 2min summaries provide a quick overview of academic papers on inequality (and some books). The idea of the 2-minute paper is to crowd-source a literature review that is useful to our group members. If you've recently read an interesting paper or book and would like to submit a summary, please visit our submission page.
The Point: The data we have on wealth inequality is far less reliable than the data we have on income and wages. In this paper, Kopczuk provides an overview of the three main methods currently used to study the distribution of wealth in the United States. The Quote: "[T]he extent to which the well-off are going to rely on work versus rely on the returns to their wealth in the future is clearly important for assessing the extent to which a society will view itself as in some w
The Point: Nearly half a century later, this paper responds to Simon Kuznets' findings. Saez and Piketty find that over the course of the twentieth century, top income and wage shares in the United States display a U-shaped (not an inverse U-shaped) trend. Their reasoning is that shocks to capital owners during the Great Depression and World War II lowered inequality for a period, but top wage shares began to rise again beginning in the late nineteen sixties. The Quote: "We h