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Picking on Piketty
Columbia University (2014)
  • Sacha Raoult
In a relatively short amount of time, Thomas Piketty's book, "Capital in The 21st Century", has generated a considerable amount of discussion in academic circles as well as in the general press. Like any research with public policy implication, this debate operates on three distinct levels. At the factual level, actors discuss the accuracy and relevance of the data presented. At the interpretative level, actors discuss the meaning of the facts in a broader context, the hypotheses, "laws", and predictions that those facts entail. At the normative level, actors discuss the policy recommendations that one ought to draw from these particular interpretations of those particular facts. In this quantitative study, I analyze discussions of Piketty's book at those different levels in relation to the social positions of the actors. Certain aspects of an academic's life course that relate to scientific prestige and social recognition are predictors of agreement or disagreement with Thomas Piketty at different levels of the debate. Agreement with Thomas Piketty is related to media presence, academic responsibilities and scholarly influence. Similarly to other heavily polarized and political issues in scientific research, top schools tend to produce more homogeneous conclusions. We will explore those aspects, compare them to other fields and try to make sense of the patterns uncovered - all knowing ful well that the represented to heated disccussions that immediately followed the book, and of the later, more adademics ones, that are surfacing now.
Publication Date
December 1, 2014
Center for Contemporary Critical Thought
Citation Information
Sacha Raoult. "Picking on Piketty" Columbia University (2014)
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