10 March 2012

The Difference Data Graphics Can Make: Our 1% and Theirs

These two graphics come from Alan Meltzer and Paul Krugman respectively (the latter prompted by Daron Acemoglu & James Robinson). Meltzer wants to focus on the broad common trajectory and the sweep of history in order to claim that the underlying pattern is driven by international factors not domestic ones. Krugman wants to point out the remarkable discrepancy over the past several decades and wonder at Meltzer's overly active imagination. Keeping the discrepancy in view, Acemoglu & Robinson insist that very much contra Meltzer: "There is therefore a prima facie case that other factors — and yes, domestic and political ones — have also played a major role in increase in top inequality in the US. " Seems about right to me.

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