The long run evolution of the rich in India 1937-2012

Developing Economics


Inequality in India may be returning to levels last seen during British Rule. To understand this, it is necessary to put India’s elite at the center of macro-history.

One of the central questions in political economy is how wealth evolves, particularly at the top. In Europe and the USA, we now accept that progression of wealth inequality followed a “U” shape or what has been called the “Inverted Kuznets Curve.” Briefly put, on the eve of World War I, the richest few percentiles dominated Western society with their massive wealth holdings. Fast forward to a decade after World War II and we see that their wealth declined substantially, but then started rising again in the late 1970s. Much has been written on this since (and due to) the publication of Piketty’s (2014) Capital in the 21st Century. My new and revised paper (Kumar, 2017b) puts the rich…

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Mobility and segregation in the United States: John Oliver’s take is quite interesting..

John Oliver’s latest episode does an analysis of segregation at the schooling level in the US. Besides his usual ‘goblinesque’ humor, Oliver does a pretty good job of capturing some important stylized facts. I was pretty startled by the fact that New York City has the highest rate of segregation – my preliminary thought was that it would be the South. The link to his video is here: