Summary of Economic Growth in the US

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Using a new set of metrics, economists Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman show that income inequality in the United States is even worse than many people thought. With half the American population stagnating while others have soared up the economic ladder, it is little wonder that politics as usual has taken a beating. getAbstract recommends this eye-opening article to anyone interested in trends in US income inequality.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why methodology matters when it comes to measuring income inequality;
  • How income disparity has grown in the United States, and how it compares with other countries; and
  • What measures could help reduce income inequality.

About the Authors

Thomas Piketty is a professor at the Paris School of Economics. Emmanuel Saez is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Gabriel Zucman is an assistant professor at the London School of Economics.



Although the issue of US income inequality is subject to much scrutiny, appropriate metrics for measuring it have been hard to parse. Research often centers on macroeconomic data that measure national income, but employing a lens that focuses on household and individual incomes, and their tax aspects, is a better way to analyze income distribution and to detail which segments of the populations are winning, which are losing and what impact taxpayer-funded government programs have on income inequity. Three findings stand out:

  1. “A surge in income inequality” – Since the 1970s, the wealthiest Americans...

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