What’s important about this paper – is it the figures, or the explanations they give?
For me, it’s more relevant for the figures, to know what’s been going on. Occupy Wall Street has brought the 1% to the attention of the wider public, but it was Atkinson, Piketty and Saez who brought it to the attention of the academic community over the last decade. But it’s definitely worth reading their explanations, because some of the things they say are important. For example, they emphasise that it’s very difficult to account for these figures with the standard labour supply, labour demand explanation that Goldin and Katz emphasise. That’s not going to work, and we really have to think about things like social policies, progressive taxation and the politics of it.
Read the rest of the article. Read some of the links as well.
-- critical point, he touches on rent seeking activities -- which is something that just tends to get ignored or not understood.