May 24, 2014
SHHHHHHH...HE'S DOING OUR WORK FOR US:
Piketty findings undercut by errors (Chris Giles, 5/23/14, Financial Times)
.[A]ccording to a Financial Times investigation, the rock-star French economist appears to have got his sums wrong.The data underpinning Professor Piketty's 577-page tome, which has dominated best-seller lists in recent weeks, contain a series of errors that skew his findings. The FT found mistakes and unexplained entries in his spreadsheets, similar to those which last year undermined the work on public debt and growth of Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff.The central theme of Prof Piketty's work is that wealth inequalities are heading back up to levels last seen before the first world war. The investigation undercuts this claim, indicating there is little evidence inProf Piketty's original sources to bear out the thesis that an increasing share of total wealth is held by the richest few.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.
The guy has even the Left agreeing that we could close the inequality gap by giving the "poor" more capital. He's the most effective advocate for privatizing Social Security we've ever had.
Posted by Orrin Judd at May 24, 2014 8:30 AM