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Piketty Case: How French Economic Historian Became the Academic Star?

Volodin Andrei

   The original concept of capital development in the 250-year dynamics proposed by T. Piketty allows on the examples of the world leading countries, including France, to see the empirical regularity that the level of return on capital (r) grows steadily faster than the economic growth rate (g). Piketty considers wealth distribution in historical retrospective as the clue to understand the economic history of the country. France for Piketty is a testing area for the study of property stratification in society, as French archives have preserved the most detailed and homogeneous series of historical data on the dynamics of asset allocation form the end of the 18th century to the present day. Historical and economic study of inequality and the concentration of capital in France reveals significant trends in inequality growth during the Belle Époque, then the decrease during the World Wars and the stagnation in the glorious thirty years, and growth anew in 1990-2000s.

Keywords: Piketty, inequality, economic history, Rastignac’s dilemma, world top incomes database, pikettymania.
Link: Volodin A. Piketty Case: How French Economic Historian Became the Academic Star? // Annuaire d'études françaises 2016: Les révoltes à l'époque de la Révolution française et du Premier Empire / Annual of French Studies 2016: The Popular Insurrections in the Age of the French Revolution and the First Empire.М. P. 375-385.