World Inequality Report

World Inequality Report is a report by the World Inequality Lab at the Paris School of Economics that provides estimates of global income and wealth inequality based on the most recent findings compiled by the World Inequality Database (WID). WID, also referred to as, is an open source database, that is part of an international collaborative effort of over a hundred researchers in five continents.

The World Inequality Report includes discussions on potential future academic research as well as content useful for public debates and policy related to economic inequality. The first report, entitled World Inequality Report 2018, which was released on December 14, 2017 at the Paris School of Economics during the first Conference, was compiled by Facundo Alvaredo, Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman based on WID data. The 300-page report cautions that since 1980, around the globe, there has been an increase in the gap between rich and poor. In Europe, the increase in inequality increased more moderately while in North America and Asia, the increase was rapid. In the Middle East, Africa, and Brazil, income inequality did not increase but remained at very high levels.

In an interview with Quartz, Piketty predicted that if the “world follows the trajectory of the US” inequality would get much worse.

World Inequality Lab

The World Inequality Lab aims to promote research on global inequality dynamics. Its missions are the intension of the World Inequality Database, the production of analysis on global inequality dynamics, and the dissemination in the public debate.

The Lab works in close coordination with a large international network of researchers (over one hundred researchers covering nearly seventy countries) contributing to the database, in a collaborative effort to extend the existing database, which provides data on both distribution of income and wealth, “as well as the distribution of different forms of capital assets, in the analyzed countries”.[1]

By 2015, the WID provided data series on the distribution of income and wealth in thirty-three countries mainly from the Americas and Europe. At that time there the intention was to “include data series for an additional forty countries.” The first WID in 2013, which was placed in an open source repository in September 2013, was compiled by Facundo Alvaredo, Anthony B. Atkinson, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman.[1][2]

From 2016 to 2017, through a 2015 Centers for Equitable Growth (CEG), Piketty, Saez, and Zucman studied Distributional National Accounts (DINA) for the United States. “DINA are defined as distributional statistics of pre-tax and post-tax income and wealth consistent with National Income and Product Accounts, and the Flow of Funds of the United States.”[1][3][4][5][6]

World Inequality Report, 2018

In 2018 Facundo Alvaredo, Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman compiled the first report, the “World Inequality Report 2018”[7] which was released on December 14, 2017 at the Paris School of Economics during the first Conference.

Highlights of the World Inequality Report 2018

The five part 300-page report discusses “the project and the measurement of economic inequality in Part I, trends in global income inequality in Part II, public versus private capital dynamics in Part III, trends in global wealth inequality in Part IV , “Tackling Economic Inequality”[7]:248–286 Methodological “details on how estimations were constructed are available at the report’s website”.[8] According to the New York Times, “Policy, it turns out, matters. More aggressive redistribution through taxes and transfers has spared Europe from the acute disparities that Americans have grown used to. Unequal access to education is helping reproduce inequality in the United States down the generations.”[9][7]:10,16 The Times article also noted that, “China’s strategy based on low-skill manufacturing for export, and underpinned by aggressive investment in infrastructure, has proven more effective at raising living standards for the bottom half of the population than India’s more inward-looking strategy, which has limited the benefits of globalization to the well-educated elite.”[9] Tetlow of the Financial Times described inequality as the “defining characteristic of the age” as The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.[10] The India Times article drew attention to the way in which “[d]eregulation and opening-up reforms in India since 1980s have led to substantial increase in inequality so much that top 0.1% of earners has continued to capture more growth than all those in the bottom 50% combined.”[11] The WIR reported that, “Income inequality in India has reached historically high levels. In 2014, the share of national income accruing to India’s top 1% of earners was 22%, while the share of the top 10% was around 56%.”[7]:123

Quartz cited the report, “[S]ince 1980 the top 0.1% have captured as much income growth as the entire bottom half of world’s (adult) population. And for the group of people in between the bottom 50% and top 1%—mostly the lower- and middle-income groups in North America and Europe—income growth has been either sluggish or flat.”[12] The WIR 2018 shows that, “The gap between rich and poor has increased in nearly every region in the world over the past few decades.”[12] Since “1980, income inequality has increased rapidly in North America and Asia, increased more moderately in Europe, and stabilized at very high levels in the Middle East, Africa, and Brazil.”[12]

First conference

The conference held on December 14 and December 15, was sponsored by the Paris School of Economics, the Institute for New Economic Thinking, the Washington Center for Equitable Growth (CEG), the Ford Foundation, and the European Research Council.[13] The release of the first issue of the World Inequality Report #wir2018 on Thursday 14th (9.30 am – 1 pm). The executive committee of the conference included Alvaredo, Chancel, Piketty, Saez, Zucman, the and the World Inequality Lab Executive Committee. The program included the release of the report that would “provide global estimates of income and wealth inequality drawing on the latest evidence gathered in” [and ] “discuss implications for future research and the global policy debate on rising inequality”. There was a session honoring Tony Atkinson and presentations of “research papers on income and wealth inequality” and “on the DINA-Distributional National Accounts agenda”.[14]

Media coverage

Within days of its December 14, 2017 publication online, the report was featured in articles in the New York Times,[9] The Guardian,[15] Quartz,[12]Financial Times,[10] the India Times,[11] and Associated Press via ABC News.[16]

In the interview with Quartz, Piketty warned of the impediments to getting “a comprehensive picture of wealth”, such as tax havens. Piketty observed that “there are financial and political forces that have a vested interest in keeping this information secret,” noting the “paradox of today’s globalized economy” where “we are supposed to be in the era of big data and transparency, and we see that we still don’t have access to all the data sources we would need.”[12]


  1. ^ Jump up to:ab c “The World Wealth and Income Database (WID)”. Journal of World-Historical Information. Reviews of Datasets. 2–3 (2). 2014–2015. doi:10.5195/jwhi.2015.33. ISSN 2169-0812.
  2. ^Alvaredo, Facundo; Atkinson, Anthony B.; Piketty, Thomas; Saez, Emmanuel; Zucman, Gabriel, eds. (September 1, 2013), The World Wealth and Income Database (WID)
  3. ^Piketty, Thomas; Saez, Emmanuel; Zucman, Gabriel (June 2015), Summary: CEG Grant: US Distributional Accounts (PDF)
  4. ^Piketty, Thomas. 2014. Capital in the 21st Century. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  5. ^Piketty, Thomas, and Emmanuel Saez. 2003. “Income Inequality in the United States, 1913-1998,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 118(1), 1-39.
  6. ^Saez, Emmanuel and Gabriel Zucman. 2014.”Wealth Inequality in the United States since 1913: Evidence from Capitalized Income Tax Data,” NBER working paper 20625.
  7. ^ Jump up to:ab c d Alvaredo, Facundo; Chancel, Lucas; Piketty, Thomas; Saez, Emmanuel; Zucman, Gabriel, eds. (December 14, 2017). World Inequality Report (2018) (PDF) (Report). p. 300. Retrieved December 14, 2017. “This report emphasizes recent research articles written by: Facundo Alvaredo Lydia Assouad Anthony B. Atkinson Charlotte Bartels Thomas Blanchet Lucas Chancel Luis Estévez-Bauluz Juliette Fournier Bertrand Garbinti Jonathan Goupille-Lebret Clara Martinez-Toledano Salvatore Morelli Marc Morgan Delphine Nougayrède Filip Novokmet Thomas Piketty Emmanuel Saez Li Yang Gabriel Zucman”
  8. ^[ Dedicated website for World Inequality Report 2018]
  9. ^ Jump up to:ab c Porter, Eduardo; Russell, Karl (December 14, 2017). “It’s an Unequal World. It Doesn’t Have to Be”. New York Times. Retrieved December 16,2017. Examining the “World Inequality Report” — published Thursday by the creators of the World Wealth and Income Database, who include the economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez — it is tempting to see the rising concentration of incomes as some sort of unstoppable force of nature, an economic inevitability driven by globalization and technology. The report finds that the richest 1 percent of humanity reaped 27 percent of the world’s income between 1980 and 2016. The bottom 50 percent, by contrast, got only 12 percent.
  10. ^ Jump up to:ab Tetlow, Gemma (December 13, 2017). “Is the world becoming more unequal?”. Financial Times. London, UK. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  11. ^ Jump up to:ab ET Bureau (December 14, 2017). “Indian economic inequality widened since 1980: Report”. India Times. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  12. ^ Jump up to:ab c d e Nelson, Eshe (December 14, 2017). “Thomas Piketty says the US is setting a bad example on inequality for the world”. Quartz. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  13. ^“First Conference”. WID. December 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  14. ^“(save the date) Release of the World Inequality Report 2018 – 14 December 2017”. WID. December 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
  15. ^Neate, Rupert (December 14, 2017). “World’s richest 0.1% have boosted their wealth by as much as poorest half”. Retrieved December 16, 2017. Inequality report also shows UK’s 50,000 richest people have seen their share of the country’s wealth double since 1984
  16. ^Kurtenbach, Elaine; Rugaber, Christopher (December 15, 2017). “Report: Rich will get still richer unless policies change”. ABC News via AP. Tokyo. Retrieved December 16, 2017.

Ofer Abarbanel – Executive Profile

Ofer Abarbanel online library

Ofer Abarbanel online library

Ofer Abarbanel online library

Ofer Abarbanel online library