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The Return of "Patrimonial Capitalism": A Review of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century

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  • Branko Milanovic

Abstract

Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty provides a unified theory of the functioning of the capitalist economy by linking theories of economic growth and functional and personal income distributions. It argues, based on the long-run historical data series, that the forces of economic divergence (including rising income inequality) tend to dominate in capitalism. It regards the twentieth century as an exception to this rule and proposes policies that would make capitalism sustainable in the twenty-first century.

Suggested Citation

  • Branko Milanovic, 2014. "The Return of "Patrimonial Capitalism": A Review of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 52(2), pages 519-534, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:52:y:2014:i:2:p:519-34
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.52.2.519
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Atkinson, A. B. & Piketty, Thomas (ed.), 2010. "Top Incomes: A Global Perspective," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286898.
    2. Thomas Piketty, 2011. "On the Long-Run Evolution of Inheritance: France 1820--2050," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1071-1131.
    3. Angus Deaton, 2005. "Measuring Poverty in a Growing World (or Measuring Growth in a Poor World)," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 1-19, February.
    4. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
    5. Christoph Lakner & Branko Milanovic, 2016. "Global Income Distribution: From the Fall of the Berlin Wall to the Great Recession," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 30(2), pages 203-232.
    6. Angus Deaton, 2005. "ERRATUM: Measuring Poverty in a Growing World (or Measuring Growth in a Poor World)," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 395-395, May.
    7. repec:bla:revinw:v:30:y:1984:i:3:p:263-288 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. A. B. Atkinson, 2009. "Factor shares: the principal problem of political economy?," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 3-16, Spring.
    9. Thomas Piketty, 2005. "Top Income Shares in the Long Run: An Overview," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(2-3), pages 382-392, 04/05.
    10. Richard V. Burkhauser & Shuaizhang Feng & Stephen P. Jenkins & Jeff Larrimore, 2012. "Recent Trends in Top Income Shares in the United States: Reconciling Estimates from March CPS and IRS Tax Return Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(2), pages 371-388, May.
    11. Anthony Atkinson & Thomas Piketty, 2010. "Top Incomes : A Global Perspective," Post-Print halshs-00754875, HAL.
    12. Gregory Clark, 2007. "Introduction to A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World," Introductory Chapters,in: A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World Princeton University Press.
    13. Goldsmith, Raymond W, 1984. "An Estimate of the Size and Structure of the National Product of the Early Roman Empire," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 30(3), pages 263-288, September.
    14. Anthony Atkinson & Thomas Piketty, 2007. "Top incomes over the twentieth century: A contrast between continental european and english-speaking countries," Post-Print halshs-00754859, HAL.
    15. Thomas Piketty, 2003. "Income Inequality in France, 1901-1998," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(5), pages 1004-1042, October.
    16. Atkinson, A. B. & Piketty, Thomas (ed.), 2007. "Top Incomes Over the Twentieth Century: A Contrast Between Continental European and English-Speaking Countries," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286881.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lilia Costabile, 2015. "A note on Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century and its critics," Economia Politica: Journal of Analytical and Institutional Economics, Springer;Fondazione Edison, vol. 32(3), pages 377-385, December.
    2. Ng, Yew-Kwang, 2015. "Is an increasing capital share under capitalism inevitable?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 82-86.
    3. Bertotti, M.L. & Chattopadhyay, A.K. & Modanese, G., 2017. "Stochastic effects in a discretized kinetic model of economic exchange," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 471(C), pages 724-732.
    4. Joan R. Rovira, 2015. "Piketty on Growth and Distribution," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 214(3), pages 91-114, September.
    5. Kornai, János, 2015. "Milyen is hát a tőke a 21. században?. Megjegyzések Piketty könyvéhez
      [So what is capital in the 21st century?. Notes on Piketty s book]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(9), pages 909-942.
    6. repec:taf:revpoe:v:28:y:2016:i:4:p:612-618 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Richard C. Sutch, 2016. "The One-Percent across Two Centuries: A Replication of Thomas Piketty’s Data on the Distribution of Wealth for the United States," Working Papers 201602, University of California at Riverside, Department of Economics.
    8. repec:eee:ecolec:v:153:y:2018:i:c:p:78-88 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Edward Whitfield, 2016. "China and the Great Doubling: Racing to the Top or Bottom of Global Labour Standards?," Global Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 7(1), pages 37-45, February.
    10. Jomo, K. & Popov, V., 2016. "Long-Term Trends in Income Distribution," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 146-160.
    11. Guillaume Allegre & Xavier Timbeau, 2014. "The critique of capital in the twenty first century in search of the macroeconomic foundations of inequality," Sciences Po publications 2014-10, Sciences Po.
    12. repec:liu:liucej:v:13:y:2016:i:2:p:221-246 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Beck Hanno & Prinz Aloys, 2014. "Willkommen in Schumpeters Hotel: Zur Dynamik der Vermögensverteilung / Welcome to Schumpeter's hotel – On the dynamics of the distribution of wealth," ORDO. Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, De Gruyter, vol. 65(1), pages 263-278, January.
    14. Vittorio Valli, 2014. "A great fresco on political economy and the world economy: Book review of Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 11(2), pages 267-270, December.
    15. van Bavel, Bas, 2016. "The Invisible Hand?: How Market Economies have Emerged and Declined Since AD 500," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199608133.
    16. James Davies, 2015. "Book review of Capital in the Twenty-first Century," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 13(1), pages 155-160, March.
    17. Pasteau, Etienne & Zhu, Junyi, 2018. "Love and money with inheritance: Marital sorting by labor income and inherited wealth in the modern partnership," Discussion Papers 23/2018, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    18. Facchini, Francois & Couvreur, Stéphane, 2015. "Inequality: The original economic sin of capitalism? An Evaluation of Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the twenty-first century"," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 281-287.
    19. Sheung-Chi Chow & Ma. Rebecca Valenzuela & Wing-Keung Wong, 2016. "New Tests for Richness and Poorness:A Stochastic Dominance Analysis of Income Distributions in Hong Kong," Monash Economics Working Papers 25-16, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    20. Simplice A. Asongu & Jacinta C. Nwachukwu, 2016. "Rational Asymmetric Development, Piketty and Poverty in Africa," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 13(2), pages 221-246, December.
    21. Yasunori Fujita, 2015. "Missing equation in Piketty’s r-g theory," Economics and Business Letters, Oviedo University Press, vol. 4(2), pages 57-62.
    22. Richard Pomfret, 2015. "Is Inequality Increasing?," Australian Economic Review, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, vol. 48(1), pages 103-111, March.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B10 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - General
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • E25 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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