Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2014) has been spectacularly successful. One reason for this is that while it often challenges received views and supports a non-apologetic interpretation of capitalism, at the same time it relies on mainstream economics. This theoretical framework, however, is not always conducive to consistency and interpretative accuracy. This paper points out some of the book’s analytical weaknesses and shows that some empirical evidence, a clearer distinction between wealth and capital, and a different theoretical perspective, could lead to questioning some of the book’s claims. In particular, it argues that the increase in the wealth-to-output ratio (but not the capital-to-output ratio) cannot explain the observed changes in income shares. It also contends that non-mainstream perspectives on income distribution and growth suggest that changes in income distribution are due more to policy and power relations than to the factors Piketty identifies.

Stirati, A. (2016). Wealth, Capital and the Theory of Distribution: Some Implications for Piketty’s Analysis. REVIEW OF POLITICAL ECONOMY, 47-63 [10.1080/09538259.2016.1237819].

Wealth, Capital and the Theory of Distribution: Some Implications for Piketty’s Analysis

STIRATI, Antonella
2016-01-01

Abstract

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2014) has been spectacularly successful. One reason for this is that while it often challenges received views and supports a non-apologetic interpretation of capitalism, at the same time it relies on mainstream economics. This theoretical framework, however, is not always conducive to consistency and interpretative accuracy. This paper points out some of the book’s analytical weaknesses and shows that some empirical evidence, a clearer distinction between wealth and capital, and a different theoretical perspective, could lead to questioning some of the book’s claims. In particular, it argues that the increase in the wealth-to-output ratio (but not the capital-to-output ratio) cannot explain the observed changes in income shares. It also contends that non-mainstream perspectives on income distribution and growth suggest that changes in income distribution are due more to policy and power relations than to the factors Piketty identifies.
Stirati, A. (2016). Wealth, Capital and the Theory of Distribution: Some Implications for Piketty’s Analysis. REVIEW OF POLITICAL ECONOMY, 47-63 [10.1080/09538259.2016.1237819].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11590/310491
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