Facundo Alvaredo

junior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2011/2012
discipline Economics
Research Fellow Department of Economics of the University of Oxford

Research project

The Long Run History of Economic Inequality: Income, Wealth and Financial Crises


There is widespread concern about growing economic inequality and about its long-run development and transmission across generations. After a post‐war period when the welfare state, the spread of education, and progressive taxation combined to steadily reduce economic inequality, the decades since 1980 have seen sharply rising income inequality in a number of countries, including the US, the UK, Scandinavia, and Germany. A wave of tax reductions favoured the welloff during the last twenty-five years, in parallel with an upsurge in top shares in most English-speaking countries to levels not seen since the years before the Great Depression. Naturally, today’s crisis has reinforced the interest in looking at the upper part of the distribution, the more so after observing that recent financial crisis tended to be followed by an increase in income concentration.


Concern about the rise in top shares has led to a range  of proposals. Some countries have already announced increases in top income tax rates; others are considering limits on remuneration. These are being implemented at a time of recession and leave many questions unanswered.

Events in today’s world economy may resemble those in the past. In considering the implications of these developments, it is important to place them in historical perspective.


How does the current level of inequality compare with that in earlier periods? Have we returned to the level of inequality of 1945 or back to the 1930s or to the situation before the First World War? How does the share of the top 1 per cent (now around 15 per cent of total income in the UK) compare with that before the Industrial Revolution?



Facundo Alvaredo is a research fellow at the Department of Economics of the University of Oxford, Researcher at the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificas y Tecnicas, and Research Affiliate at the Centre for Economic Policy Research and Centre for Economic Studies of the Ifo Institute. He holds a PhD from the Paris School of Economics.


Selected publications

Income and Wealth Concentration in Spain from a Historical and Fiscal Perspective, with Emmanuel Saez; Journal of the European Economic Association 7(5): 1140-1167, 2009. Longer version in A. Atkinson and T. Piketty (editors)


Top Incomes over the Twentieth Century vol. II A Global Perspective, 2010, Oxford: Oxford University Press, chapter 10.


Top Incomes and Earnings in Portugal 1936-2005; Explorations in Economic History 46(4): 404-417, 2009. Longer version in A. Atkinson and T. Piketty, op. cit., chapter 11.


The Rich in Argentina over the Twentieth Century 1932-2004; in A. Atkinson and T. Piketty, op.cit., chapter 6, 2009.


The Monetary Method to Measure the Shadow Economy: The Forgotten Problem of the Initial Conditions, with H. Ahumada and A. Canavese; Economics Letters, 101(2): 97-99, 2008.


The Monetary Method and the Size of the Shadow Economy: A Critical Assessment, with H. Ahumada and A. Canavese. Review of Income and Wealth, 53(2): 363-371, 2007.



senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2018/2019
Paris Institute for Advanced Study
discipline History Middle Ages
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2018/2019
Paris Institute for Advanced Study
discipline Political Philosophy
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2015/2016
Paris Institute for Advanced Study
discipline Literature
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2017/2018
Paris Institute for Advanced Study
discipline Urban Studies