FILE - In this June 30, 2014 file photo, French economist Thomas Piketty speaks during his seminar at the Almedalen political week in Visby on the island of Gotland, in Sweden. Novelist Marilynne Robinson, economist Piketty and cartoonist Roz Chast are among the finalists for National Book Critics Circle prizes. The 30 nominees for six competitive categories were announced Monday, Jan. 19, 2015.  (AP Photo/Janerik Henriksson, File) SWEDEN OUT

Why So Few American Economists Are Studying Inequality

Wealth at the top of the income distribution is skyrocketing, leading to growing inequality. This trend is especially pronounced in the United States. But much of the leading research on the topic isn’t coming from American economists.

A French economist, Thomas Piketty, wrote the blockbuster 2013 book Capital in the 21st Century about the growth of extreme wealth inequality; Piketty and (French) Berkeley colleague Emmanuel Saez co-authored a heavily quoted paper, “Income Inequality in the United States 1913-1998”; Saez has written exhaustively about the evolution of incomes of the top 1 percent, along with another (French) Berkeley colleague, Gabriel Zucman, who himself writes about how the top 1 percent hide their wealth offshore.

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