Skip to main content

30% Off New Releases: Explore the List

Harvard University Press - home
Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century

Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century

Inequality and Redistribution, 1901–1998

Thomas Piketty

Translated by Seth Ackerman

ISBN 9780674737693

Publication date: 05/07/2018

Request exam copy

A landmark in contemporary social science, this pioneering work by Thomas Piketty explains the facts and dynamics of income inequality in France in the twentieth century. On its publication in French in 2001, it helped launch the international program led by Piketty and others to explore the grand patterns and causes of global inequality—research that has since transformed public debate. Appearing here in English for the first time, this stunning achievement will take its place alongside Capital in the Twenty-First Century as a modern classic of economic analysis.

Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century is essential in part because of Piketty’s unprecedented efforts to uncover, untangle, and present in clear form data about patterns in tax and inheritance in France dating back to 1900. But it is also an exceptional work of analysis, tracking and explaining with Piketty’s characteristically lucid prose the effects of political conflict, war, and social change on the economic pressures and public policies that determined the lives of millions. A work of unusual intellectual power and ambition, Top Incomes in France in the Twentieth Century is a vital resource for anyone concerned with the economic, political, and social history of France, and it is central to ongoing debates about social justice, inequality, taxation, and the evolution of capitalism around the world.


  • In light of Piketty’s history, every part of Hayek’s argument now looks doubtful…The tremendous amount of data he gathers and analyzes (from tax rates to the price of butter) point to unavoidable conclusions. High taxes on income and inheritances can keep inequality in check, or even make it fall…Inequality is not incomprehensible or uncontrollable. It is the result of political decisions…Piketty makes clear, at great length, exactly what would stem the tide.

    —Paul W. Gleason, Pacific Standard


  • Thomas Piketty is Professor at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and the Paris School of Economics and Codirector of the World Inequality Lab.

Book Details

  • 1280 pages
  • 6-3/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Belknap Press

From this author