22 janvier 2018
Ecrit par WID.world

New paper on wealth inequality in Paris, 1842-1957 (WID.world Working Paper 2018/1)

This new paper by Thomas Piketty, Gilles Postel-Vinay and Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, “The End of the Rentiers: Paris 1842-1957”, exploits a unique individual-level database collected from Paris inheritance archives.

HIGHLIGHTS: the authors explore the interplay between aggregate macroeconomic shocks, the end of rentiers, and the long-run decline in wealth inequality. They quantify for the first time the role of the rise of progressive taxation of income and inheritance in these individual-level dynamics. Their findings reveal that the real innovation of the twentieth century in reducing wealth inequality was the new fiscal regime that came in response to wars and other adverse shocks after 1914. Had it only been for the negative shocks themselves, the distribution of wealth in Paris and the consumption possibilities of the rich would have more easily returned to their pre-World War I level.