Economics serving society

« Clivages politiques et inégalités sociales », Amory Gethin, Clara Martinez-Toledano and Thomas Piketty (april 2021)

Discover this new book, published last April (Editions EHESS/Gallimard/Seuil) by Amory Gethin (PSE-EHESS, WIL), Clara Martinez-Toledano (Imperial College Business School, WIL) and Thomas Piketty (PSE, EHESS, WIL).

« Clivages politiques et inégalités sociales », Amory Gethin, Clara Martinez-Toledano and Thomas Piketty

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Extract from the back cover


Who votes for whom and why? Why has growing inequality in many parts of the world not led to renewed class-based conflicts, and seems instead to have come with the emergence of new divides over identity and integration? News analysts, scholars, and citizens interested in exploring those questions inevitably lack relevant data, in particular the kinds of data that establish historical and international context. Political Cleavages and Social Inequalities provides the missing empirical background, collecting and examining a treasure trove of information on the dynamics of polarization in modern democracies.

The chapters draw on a unique set of surveys conducted between 1948 and 2020 in fifty countries on five continents, analyzing the links between voters’ political preferences and socioeconomic characteristics, such as income, education, wealth, occupation, religion, ethnicity, age, and gender. This analysis sheds new light on how political movements succeed in coalescing multiple interests and identities in contemporary democracies. It also helps us understand the conditions under which conflicts over inequality become politically salient, as well as the similarities and constraints of voters supporting ethnonationalist politicians like Narendra Modi, Jair Bolsonaro, Marine Le Pen, and Donald Trump.

Bringing together cutting-edge data and historical analysis, editors Amory Gethin, Clara Martínez-Toledano, and Thomas Piketty offer a vital resource for understanding the voting patterns of the present and the likely sources of future political conflict.

The authors

Amory Gethin

Amory Gethin is a PSE-EHESS doctoral student under the supervision of Thomas Piketty and a research fellow at the World Inequality Lab (WIL). His research focuses on the interaction between economic inequality, redistribution and political conflict in a comparative and historical perspective

Clara Martinez-Toledano

Clara Martinez-Toledano is Assistant Professor of Financial Economics at Imperial College Business School and Wealth Distribution Coordinator at (WIL). A former PSE student (PPD 2015, PhD 2020), she is interested in public finance, household finance, macroeconomics and economic history.

Thomas Piketty

Thomas Piketty is Chair Professor at PSE, Director of Studies at EHESS and Co-Director of WIL and He has published numerous research articles in international journals such as the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Political Economy, American Economic Review, Review of Economic Studies, Explorations in Economic History, Annales: Histoire, Sciences Sociales, as well as a dozen books. He is the author of historical and theoretical works on the relationship between economic development, wealth distribution and political conflict. This work has led to the identification of the importance of political, social and fiscal institutions in the historical dynamics of wealth distribution. He is the author of the international bestsellers “Capital in the 21st Century” (2013) and “Capital and Ideology” (2019).