A Bigger Economic Pie, but a Smaller Slice for Half of the U.S.


The new findings, by the economists Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, provide the most thoroughgoing analysis to date of how the income kitty — like paychecks, profit-sharing, fringe benefits and food stamps — is divided among the American population.

The Income Gap Continues to Widen

Since 1980, the share of total income going to the top 1 percent of earners has doubled, while the bottom half’s share has narrowed. Stagnant wages for many Americans is a major culprit. In three and a half decades, their incomes have barely changed while those at the top have tripled. The source of that income gain has also shifted at the top; more is coming from returns on investments rather than wages. That makes it harder for the bottom half, with much less capital, to catch up.


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