Last year Thomas Piketty published the long-awaited successor to his monumental book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, titled Capital and Ideology. Piketty seeks to understand why inequality is so hard to tackle and he argues that an important piece of the puzzle has to do with party politics, in particular the changing nature of the left.
According the Piketty, the left has been captured by higher educated groups who care very little about redistribution, while traditional working class voter who do actually care about redistribution are left politically homeless.
While this might sounds obvious at first glance, the argument does not hold up to closer empirical scrutiny. In fact, in a recent article Tarik Abou-Chadi (Zurich) and Simon Hix (LSE) show that Piketty paints a very misleading picture of political competition, the support bases of politics, the composition of the electorate, and the preferences of income and education groups.
Make sure to check out Tarik’s podcast series Transformation of European Politics.
You can follow Tarik on Twitter: @tabouchadi.