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World Inequality Report 2018 is the most authoritative and up-to-date account of global trends in inequality. Researched, compiled, and written by a team of the world’s leading economists of inequality, it presents—with unrivaled clarity and depth—information and analysis that will be vital to policy makers and scholars everywhere.

Inequality has taken center stage in public debate as the wealthiest people in most parts of the world have seen their share of the economy soar relative to that of others, many of whom, especially in the West, have experienced stagnation. The resulting political and social pressures have posed harsh new challenges for governments and created a pressing demand for reliable data. The World Inequality Lab at the Paris School of Economics and the University of California, Berkeley, has answered this call by coordinating research into the latest trends in the accumulation and distribution of income and wealth on every continent. This inaugural report analyzes the Lab’s findings, which include data from major countries where information has traditionally been difficult to acquire, such as China, India, and Brazil. Among nations, inequality has been decreasing as traditionally poor countries’ economies have caught up with the West. The report shows, however, that inequality has been steadily deepening within almost every nation, though national trajectories vary, suggesting the importance of institutional and policy frameworks in shaping inequality.

World Inequality Report 2018 will be a key document for anyone concerned about one of the most imperative and contentious subjects in contemporary politics and economics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674984554
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 07/09/2018
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 344
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Facundo Alvaredo is Codirector of the World Wealth and Income Database ( and of the World Inequality Lab.

Lucas Chancel is Affiliate Professor at Sciences Po and Codirector of the World Inequality Lab at the Paris School of Economics.

Thomas Piketty is Professor at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and the Paris School of Economics and Codirector of the World Inequality Lab.

Emmanuel Saez is Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and Director of the Center for Equitable Growth.

Gabriel Zucman is Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley, and Director of the EU Tax Observatory.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Highlights for 2018 1

Introduction: Better Inequality Data for a More Informed Democratic Debate 17

Part I The Project 21

1 The Measurement of Economic Inequality 23

Part II Trends in Global Income Inequality 37

2 Global Income Inequality Dynamics 39

3 Trends in Income Inequality between Countries 60

4 Trends in Income Inequality within Countries 70

5 Income Inequality in the United States 83

6 Income Inequality in France 100

7 Income Inequality in Germany 110

8 Income Inequality in China 116

9 Income Inequality in Russia 124

10 Income Inequality in India 136

11 Income Inequality in the Middle East 145

12 Income Inequality in Brazil 154

13 Income Inequality in South Africa 162

Part III Public versus Private Capital Dynamics 169

14 Wealth-Income Ratios across the World 171

15 The Evolution of Aggregate Wealth-Income in Developed Countries 182

16 Comparing the Experiences of Former Communist States 193

17 Capital Accumulation, Private Property, and Rising Inequality in China 201

18 The Rise of Private Property in Russia 209

Part IV Trends in Global Wealth Inequality 217

19 Global Wealth Inequality: Trends and Projections 219

20 Comparing Trends in Personal Wealth Inequality across the World 228

21 Wealth Inequality in the United States 236

22 Wealth Inequality in France 244

23 Wealth Inequality in Spain 257

24 Wealth Inequality in the UK 269

Part V Tackling Economic Inequality 277

25 What is the Future of Global Income Inequality? 279

26 Tackling Rising Inequality at the Top: The Role of Progressive Taxation 286

27 Tax Policy in a Global Environment: The Case for a Global Financial Register 294

28 Tackling Inequality at the Bottom: The Need for More Equal Access to Education and Good-Paying Jobs 299

29 A Message from the Past: Let Governments Invest in the Future 310

Conclusion 317

Appendix 321

Notes 325

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