“If we thought that the distribution of income among individuals in an economy is determined in a similar manner to the distribution of income across countries in the world, we would then look primarily for explanations which attach importance to knowledge, education, and skills. But Piketty’s theory of income and wealth distribution, contrary to what we might anticipate, is startlingly simple, and can be boiled down to a couple of ’laws.’ Piketty first argues, by appealing to the data, that capital income is more important than labor income in concentrating income and wealth at the top of the distribution.”
Stephen Williamson is Robert S. Brookings Distinguished Professor in Arts and Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis, and Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Posts by Stephen Williamson
“The Common Reader,” Washington University in St. Louis’s Journal of the Essay, explores life and learning during the onset of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.