Category Archives: Dubious statistics

Debunking the Claim that Inequality Fell After the Crisis

A new paper by Stephen Rose of George Washington University that was picked up by the New York Times created a stir by claiming that inequality fell after the crisis. While the crisis proper did hit the well-off hard, and past accounts allow for that, a large range of analyses had found that income and wealth inequality rose after the crisis. That mean the Rose paper was potentially important, and even if not, it was useful to those who’d like to claim that the new normal is benign, even virtuous, so it has gotten quite a bit of attention.

This article by Lance Taylor goes through the Rose paper and other data and finds the “lower inequality” hypothesis to be sorely wanting.

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How Third Way Trade Agreements Study Distorts Via Omission to Pave Way for TTP and TTIP

Even cherry-picked data shows only modest gains for trade agreements, and more comprehensive looks tell a very different tale. And that’s before you get to all the nasty sovereignty-gutting provisions of the TTP and TTIP.

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Wolf Richter: Something Rotten Is Piling Up in this Economy

Given how many QE-induced distortions we have in the economy, I’m not certain the spike in inventories (in isolation) is as telling a symptom as it was last time around. But most analysts took note of how much of last quarter’s GDP figures reflected both a big increase in inventories and a negative GDP deflator, and they expect the next quarter or two to be less robust.

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What Thomas Piketty and Larry Summers Don’t Tell You About Income Inequality

In a new paper for the Institute For New Economic Thinking’s Working Group on the Political Economy of Distribution, economist Lance Taylor and his colleagues examine income inequality using new tools and models that give us a more nuanced — and frightening —picture than we’ve had before.  Their simulation models show how so-called “reasonable” modifications like modest tax increases on the wealthy and boosting low wages are not going to be enough to stem the disproportionate tide of income rushing toward the rich. Taylor’s research challenges the approaches of American policy makers, the assumptions of traditional economists, and some of the conclusions drawn by Thomas Piketty and Larry Summers. Bottom line: We’re not yet talking about the kinds of major changes needed to keep us from becoming a Downton Abbey society.

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Green Growth or No Growth?

Many readers have taken the position that we need to put a brake on growth in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce consumption of other resources.

In a Real News Network interview, Robert Pollin goes through the math of carbon output and shows why a no growth approach is inadequate.

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