Piketty findings undercut by errors
May 23, 2014 12:33 PM Subscribe
Piketty findings undercut by errors -- The Financial Times analyzes the data and calculations that Thomas Piketty used to support his result in his book "Capital in the 21st Century", and discovers that some of the data was "adjusted" and some of the formulas contain fudge-factors. When those things are removed, the calculations show that there hasn't been any significant change in wealth inequality in Europe since 1970.
Prof Piketty, 43, provides detailed sourcing for his estimates of wealth inequality in Europe and the US over the past 200 years. In his spreadsheets, however, there are transcription errors from the original sources and incorrect formulas. It also appears that some of the data are cherry-picked or constructed without an original source.
For example, once the FT cleaned up and simplified the data, the European numbers do not show any tendency towards rising wealth inequality after 1970. An independent specialist in measuring inequality shared the FT’s concerns.
Contacted by the FT, Prof Piketty said he had used “a very diverse and heterogeneous set of data sources ... [on which] one needs to make a number of adjustments to the raw data sources.
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