May 23, 2017
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May 2017 Newsletter & The World Inequality Lab Newsletter

 The World Wealth and Income Database ( aims to provide open and convenient access to the most extensive available database on the historical evolution of the world distribution of income and wealth, both within and between countries. was initiated in 2011 and is administered by the World Inequality Lab. It regroups more than a hundred researchers located over five continents. Read more about us here.

This is our first Newsletter, which aims to keep you up-to-date with the latest findings, as well as with general information, including up-coming events and related research. is now available in English, Chinese, French and Spanish

In May 2017, the website was translated into Chinese, French and Spanish, enabling approximately three billion people to access inequality data. This forms a key part of our efforts to democratize access to economic statistics and research so that as many people as possible can participate in the global inequality debate in an informed manner.

Latest research published on 


Private Property and Rising Inequality in China
This new working paper from T. Piketty, L. Yang and G. Zucman combines national accounts, survey, wealth and fiscal data over the 1978-2015 period. It finds that the share of national income represented by the top 10% of income earners has risen from 27% to 41% between 1978 and 2015, while the bottom 50%’s share dropped from 27% to 15%.

Click here for more details


Income Inequality Dynamics in in France
This new working paper from B. Garbinti, J. Goupille-Lebret and T. Piketty, combines national accounts, tax and survey data over the 1900-2014 period. The paper identifies a drastic change in the distribution of annual per capita income growth between the periods 1950-1983 and 1983-2014, with the top income earners enjoying double the rate of income growth than that experienced by the rest of the population in the latter mentioned period. This trend was the opposite in the preceding 33 years.

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Wealth Inequality Dynamics in France
This new working paper from B. Garbinti, J. Goupille-Lebret and T. Piketty combines income tax data, inheritance registers, national accounts and wealth surveys over the 1800-2014 period. The authors identify a large decline in the top 10%’s wealth share from the 1910s to the 1980s, and a moderate rise of wealth concentration thereafter.

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Wealth Concentration in the United Kingdom
This new working paper from F. Alvaredo, A. B. Atkinson and S. Morelli uses data that covers a much longer period than previously, from 1895 to the present day. Highlights of the paper’s findings include the remarkable change in the position of top wealth holders in the UK over the past 100 years. The personal wealth of the top 5% and 1% represented 40% and 20% of the country’s wealth in 2014, respectively, down from 90% and 66% before the First World War.

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Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the USA
This new working paper from T. Piketty, E. Saez and G. Zucman, combines tax, survey and national accounts data to estimate the distribution of national income in the USA since 1913. The authors find that the income share held by the top 1% earners increased from 11% in 1980 to 20% in 2014, while the share held by the bottom 50% decreased from 20% to close to 12% over the same period.

Click here for more details


First conference 

We are organizing the First Conference, which will be hosted by the Paris School of Economics on December 14th and 15th, 2017. You can find the call for papers here.

  • If you wish to submit a conference paper, please send your paper in pdf format to conference@wid.worldby September 1st, 2017, and indicate whether you will require funding, and whether you are a PhD student. Decisions are expected to be announced by September 11th, 2017.
  • Should you wish to attend but not present a paper, please send an email to with your name and affiliation by September 17th, 2017. Note that it may not be possible to accept all requests if demand exceeds the space available.


The World Inequality Lab
The World Inequality Lab aims to promote research on global inequality dynamics. Its core mission is to maintain and expand the World Wealth and Income Database. It also produces inequality reports and working papers addressing substantive and methodological issues. It is located at the Paris School of Economics, and comprises a small team of about ten permanent staff members and research assistants. The World Inequality Lab works in close coordination with a large international network (over one hundred researchers covering nearly seventy countries) contributing to the database and is supervised and coordinated by the same executive committee and coordination team as

The turn of the year has seen the Lab recruit two new members. Li Yang has joined the team to work on Chinese macroeconomic and inequality data, and Richard Clarke will be working with the coordination team to help with the preparation of the World Inequality Report.

Please get in touch with us at if you have any questions.


Warm regards,

Facundo Alvaredo, Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, Gabriel Zucman