I’ve been waiting patiently for Tony Atkinson’s new book—Inequality: What can be done?—to ship, which according to Amazon.ca is supposed to happen sometime early in May.
Professor Atkinson is the dean of inequality studies, having done fundamental research associated with the challenges of distinguishing social values from statistical measurement. But he has also always been engaged with the conduct of labour market and income transfer policies. His concerns are informed by a UK and EU perspective, but he has the attention of all researchers and policy makers. As only one example, he played a role in advising the OECD on its influential inequality publications.
More recently he was involved in documenting and interpreting the evolution of top income shares around the world, a research program that led to, among other things, The World Top Income Database, and in part supported Thomas Piketty’s bestselling Capital in the Twenty-First Century.
If being an economic theorist of the highest order, a careful empiricist and statistician, and all the while having an eye for informed, enlightened, and forward looking public policy is not enough, he is also fundamentally a nice and generous guy. Ask any of his former students, the many researchers world-wide wide who have interacted with him, or any one of many foundations and policy institutes he has advised.
If you are as curious as I am about his next book (which seems to have been available in Europe for some and more recently to American readers), you can get a sense of what’s coming from a recent article called “After Piketty“. The book is going to be a must-read.