My article, The Mapmaker’s Dilemma in Evaluating High-End Inequality, has just been published by the University of Miami Law Review. The official cite is 71 University of Miami Law Review 83-159 (2016), and it’s available here.
The abstract goes as follows:
“The last thirty years have witnessed rising income and wealth concentration among the top 0.1% of the population, leading to intense political debate regarding how, if at all, policymakers should respond. Often, this debate emphasizes the tools of public economics, and in particular optimal income taxation. However, while these tools can help us in evaluating the issues raised by high-end inequality, their extreme reductionism—which, in other settings, often offers significant analytic payoffs—here proves to have serious drawbacks. This Article addresses what we do and don’t learn from the optimal income tax literature regarding high-end inequality, and what other inputs might be needed to help one evaluate the relevant issues.”
The piece was adapted from what used to be chapter 2 of my book-in-progress, Enviers, Rentiers, Arrivistes, and the Point-One Percent: What Literature Can Tell Us About High-End Inequality, In effect, it serves to explain why one might want to look at contemporary literature in this regard, rather than confining oneself to tools from public economics and other “hard” social sciences. But as it happens, I have decided not to include almost any of the material from this chapter in the book. Instead, material from maybe 3 to 5 pages of it has been adapted to fit into the book’s chapter 1, and the book then goes straight to the fun stuff, starting with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in what is now chapter 2. Ensuing chapters that I have written to this point address Stendhal’s Le Rouge et le Noir, Balzac’s Pere Goriot, Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Trollope’s The Way We Live Now, and (albeit only about half-done) Forster’s Howards End. The chapter after that will cross the Great Pond and look at Horatio Alger (to be followed by Dreiser’s The Financier and/or The Titan and then Wharton’s House of Mirth).