Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Stephen Williamson — Piketty and the Macroeconomists

I have not read a word of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century. As far as I can understand from secondhand and thirdhand accounts, it has something to do with outrage about the wealthy, measuring the rate of return on capital, and how we can tax those worthless wealthy bastards. The quotes and reviews on Amazon use words including "pioneering," "explosive," "seminal," "magisterial," etc. Some people want to petition the Pope to put Piketty in line for sainthood. This is pretty exciting. I think I should buy the book, and would be happy to contribute to Piketty's wealth. Hopefully he won't be successful in taxing himself back into poverty.
Tyler Cowen points out that there is a body of research studying wealth inequality, which apparently Piketty does not reference. This surprises me. After all, Paul Krugman (a very serious, straightforward, and trustworthy scholar, if there ever was one) points out that:
...if you think you’ve found an obvious hole, empirical or logical, in Piketty, you’re very probably wrong. He’s done his homework!

This bears investigating, I think.
Stephen Williamson: New Monetarist Economics
Piketty and the Macroeconomists
Stephen Williamson | Robert S. Brookings Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Economics, Washington University in St. Louis

The post speaks for itself without my making any snide remarks.

Oh, I just can't resist. Sounds like envy of someone else's success to me.

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