Who’s Your Daddy? Some feedback from the top 1% on my New York Times article

Among the readers of an opinion piece I wrote in the New York Times on July 21st, Who’s Your Daddy? Job Opportunities for the children of the top 1 percent,  are two top 1 percenters who kindly took the time to email me their thoughts.

One of the goofiest most nonsensical things I have ever seen filled with
contradictions as you twist opposite conclusions to fit your thesis of
inequality. Just bizarre.

Sent from my iPad

My article was based on a soon to be published paper, Income Inequality, Equality of Opportunity, and Intergenerational Mobility , so I would hope that it has some logic to it.

The following comments are from another top 1 percenter who offers a more nuanced view on my logic, such as it is. Continue reading “Who’s Your Daddy? Some feedback from the top 1% on my New York Times article”

Income Inequality, Equality of Opportunity, and Intergenerational Mobility

The summer issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives will feature a collection of articles on inequality and the top 1%, some of which are now being circulated by the authors.

The paper by Tony Atkinson and his coauthors, “The top 1 percent in international and historical perspective,” is available in this post, and “The Pay of Corporate Executives and Financial Professionals as Evidence of Rents in Top 1 Percent Incomes,” by Josh Bivens and Lawerence Mishel, is available on the Economic Policy Institute website.

Greg Mankiw has also posted a copy of his paper, “Defending the One Percent“, on his blog.

My contribution to the collection is based on the notion that the inequality literature has paid little attention to the intergenerational consequences of increasing top income shares, and it can be read as a counterpoint to Mankiw’s piece, or at least to his claim that inequality of opportunity is not a reason to worry about the top 1%.

Here is the final draft: Income Inequality, Equality of Opportunity, and Intergenerational Mobility. But if you just want a quick read, an excerpt from the conclusion follows. Either way, feedback is—as always—welcomed.

[NOTE added December 10, 2013: the published version of this paper is available from the American Economics Association website for the Summer 2013 issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, as is the table of contents for the entire issue.]

Continue reading “Income Inequality, Equality of Opportunity, and Intergenerational Mobility”

Do falling tax rates explain the rising incomes of the top 1%?

Top income shares have increased significantly in some rich countries, but not so much in others. In the United States the fraction of income going to the top 1% has more than doubled since the late 1970s. And while top shares have increased in other countries like Canada and the United Kingdom, they have not gone up all that much elsewhere, say in Germany or Sweden.

Globalization and technological change are often said to be the causes of growing inequality, but all rich countries have been confronted by these forces, and on their own they cannot account for the variation in top income shares between countries. A full explanation has to rely on institutions, policies, or norms of pay that differ across national boundaries.

The first and most obvious place to look is at changes in tax rates.

Continue reading “Do falling tax rates explain the rising incomes of the top 1%?”

How will the House of Commons look at Income Inequality in Canada?

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 9.56.24 PMEveryone has been talking about it: academics for at least a couple of decades; think-tanks and international organizations like the OECD and the IMF as well; and even—at least since the Occupy Wall Street movement went camping—the average taxpayer.

And now, after having adopted a motion introduced almost a year ago by Scott Brison, the honourable Member of Parliament for Kings-Hants, the House of Commons has charged its Standing Committee on Finance to also talk about it: yes, Virginia, Committee hearings on “Income Inequality in Canada” have begun.

Can there be a topic that is least likely to garner consensus among our Members of Parliament than taxes and inequality? Little wonder they are so late to the conversation.

On Thursday the Committee held the second of at least three hearings. Among its terms of reference is to “examine best practices that reduce income inequality and improve per capita gross domestic product.” If the written briefs posted on its website and some of the witness statements to date are any indication, the Committee has its homework cut out for it. At first look these are lofty of principle, short on prescription.

Continue reading “How will the House of Commons look at Income Inequality in Canada?”

Tax policy for equality and social mobility

The Canadian House of Commons has charged its subcommittee on Finance to examine income inequality in Canada.

More specifically the Committee’s mandate is to produce a report that will:

  • review Canada’s federal and provincial systems of personal income taxation and income supports;
  • examine best practices that reduce income inequality and improve per capita gross domestic product;
  • identify any significant gaps in the federal system of taxation and income support that contribute to income inequality;
  • identify any significant disincentives to paid work in the formal economy that may exist as part of a “welfare trap;” and
  • provide recommendations on how best to improve equality of opportunity and prosperity for all Canadians.

Its website contains the written submissions received by the April 5th deadline.

I will appear as a witness in a televised hearing beginning at 8:45 EDT on Thursday April 25th, 2013.  The other witnesses slated to appear at the same meeting are listed here.

You can view it all here as Meeting 116 if you have an interest.

A copy of my written submission is available as a pdf: Corak_Submission_to_Finance_Committee.

Inequality: for the 10th grader in you

Hi my name is Z… and I am in 10th grade, I have a history project relating to economic inequality and social justice. I found your blog on economic inequality online and I was wondering if you could answer my interview questions, the questions are — What has happened to make economic inequality relevant in Canadian history? and To what degree has a commitment to social justice been significant in creating Canada today?

Continue reading “Inequality: for the 10th grader in you”