In This Review

World Inequality Report 2018
World Inequality Report 2018
Edited by Facundo Alvaredo, Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman
Harvard University Press, 2018, 344 pp

This is the latest installment of an ongoing effort by a team of economists to assemble and refine data on the distribution of income and wealth within and across many large countries, including Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Russia, South Africa, and the United States. The authors combine information from household surveys, national income accounts, and tax records to create what is sure to become a standard source for data on income and wealth inequality. Since 1980, the distribution of income, as measured by the shares of total national income earned by the top one percent, the top ten percent, and the bottom 50 percent, has grown more unequal in all but one of the countries studied. (The exception is Brazil, where inequality has declined but still exceeds the levels in most other countries.) Although increases in inequality differ greatly across countries, in most, inequality has grown in income earned from labor, such as wages, and in income derived from the ownership of capital, such as stock dividends. Data on wealth are public for far fewer countries, but the information that is available shows that the distribution of wealth has also grown more unequal. The editors end the book with a discussion of various policies that could reduce these inequalities.