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

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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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