Naked Capitalism has the post Financial Times Finds “Many” Errors in Piketty Analysis, Argues They Undermine His Thesis by Yves Smith.
The Financial Times story had more of a “gotcha” tone that one expects to see in the mainstream media, and compared the mistakes to the famous spreadsheet errors in Carmen Reinhart’s and Kenneth Rogoff’s work on debt to GDP ratios. But at least so far, there is a key difference: only one other study had found results similar to the those claimed by Reinhart and Rogoff. By contrast, Piketty is far from alone in finding rising concentrations of wealth at the very top; Demos points out that a new study published by Garbriel Zucman and Emmanuel Saez paints a post-war picture similar to Piketty’s. Thus the FT’s assertion that their corrections of Piketty’s data show no increase in wealth concentration is an awfully bold claim, and will likely be scrutinized as much as the errors and possible methodological shortcomings that Giles found.
With Piketty’s book having gotten so much attention over the last few weeks, it’s a given that there will be a lot of eyes on the Giles findings and considerable debate over how much of an impact they have on Piketty’s conclusions. So hold tight and see how this shakes out.
While Naked Capitalism has its own reasons for disagreeing with some of Piketty’s conclusions, they at least have the humility to admit that the final answer is not in yet. As I was reading about the claims made by The Financial Times story, I was wondering how The Financial Times could conclude that there was no evidence of increasing concentrations of wealth at the top 1%. I was happy to see that Yves Smith made note of this hard to believe conclusion.