FT Editor: Piketty’s Data Is Flawed

Financial Times economics editor Chris Giles claims to have spotted some glaring errors in this year’s hottest economics book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. “Some issues concern sourcing and definitional problems,” Giles wrote Friday. “Some numbers appear simply to be constructed out of thin air.” The book, written by Paris School of Economics Director Thomas Piketty, focuses on growing income inequality in the West. Giles said he became aware of questionable data while reporting on wealth distribution in the U.K. He says that two of Piketty’s central findings, “that wealth inequality has begun to rise over the past 30 years and that the U.S. obviously has a more unequal distribution of wealth than Europe—no longer seem to hold.” FT reached Piketty, who said that he used “a very diverse and heterogeneous set of data sources…[on which] one needs to make a number of adjustments to the raw data sources.”