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Anti-Piketty Paper Is #1 Download

Hard to believe, but the most downloaded paper right now at the major clearinghouse for academic papers in the social sciences — SSRN, the Social Science Research Network — is a crushing assault on Thomas Piketty’s fashionable book Capital in the 21st Century. The authors, Bob Murphy (associated scholar of the Mises Institute) and Phil Magness, do not attack Piketty here for his faulty capital theory, although Bob has done so elsewhere. They go after Piketty where he is supposed to be at his best: his supposedly airtight empirical data. It turns out that Piketty massages the data, engages in wild extrapolation, simply invents numbers where data do not exist, and engages in outright falsification of U.S. economic history. (Click here for the rankings of papers by download; it’s in the right-hand column.)

The paper is called “Challenging the Empirical Contribution of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century.” The paper is well worth reading. I discussed its key themes with Dr. Magness yesterday.

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9:17 pm on January 14, 2015