2019 Stone Lecture in Economic Inequality


Monday, October 28, 2019, 4:30pm to 6:00pm


Nye ABC (Taubman 520)
Emmanuel Saez
See event page for video | slides | photos ▶


Emmanuel Saez

Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Equitable Growth, University of California, Berkeley
With discussion led by

Stefanie Stantcheva

Professor of Economics, Harvard University

Douglas Elmendorf (Welcome)
Dean, Harvard Kennedy School
Don K. Price Professor of Public Policy

David J. Deming (Introduction)
Director, Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy
Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Jump to...
The book
Companion website
About the book
Related media 


The Triumph of Injustice 
How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay

By Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman
W.W. Norton & Company (Oct 15, 2019)

The Triumph of Injustice, by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman

Companion website

Design your own tax reform in this interactive website. Explore how adjusting various taxes can make the tax system more or less progressive. Or design a wealth tax and explore its effects on long-run inequality. Researchers will find all data, code, slides, FAQs, and technical appendices to the book.

taxjusticenow.org ▶


About the book

America's runaway inequality has an engine, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman argue: our unjust tax system. The ultra-rich have had their taxes collapse to levels last seen in the 1920s. Meanwhile, working-class Americans have been asked to pay more. The Triumph of Injustice presents a forensic investigation into this dramatic transformation, written by two economists who revolutionized the study of inequality.

Saez and Zucman dissect the deliberate choices (and sins of indecision) that have brought us to today: the gradual exemption of capital owners; the surge of a new tax avoidance industry, and the spiral of tax competition among nations. They explain how America turned away from the most progressive tax system in history to embrace policies that only serve to compound the wealth of a few.

Saez and Zucman propose a reinvention of taxes, outlining reforms that can allow tax justice to triumph in today’s globalized world and democracy to prevail over concentrated wealth.


In 2018, for the first time in more than one hundred years, billionaires paid a lower tax rate than ordinary workers, crowning the dismantling of America’s system of progressive taxation. In this eye-opening book, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman show that there is no iron law of economics that led us there, just many whose self-interest or misunderstanding of economics make them claim the opposite. Their radical proposal to reinvent taxation for a globalized world will become an unavoidable starting point to any intelligent conversation.

— Esther Duflo, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics and author of Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty.

America is tired with inequality and oligarchy. Armed with eye-popping new data, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman reveal how tax injustice is fueling the oligarchic drift. But above all, they propose bold solutions to help America reconnect with its tradition of tax justice, from the taxation of extreme wealth and giant corporations to the funding of health care for all. This is a brilliantly argued book that is an essential contribution to the global economic and political debate of the twenty-first century.

— Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

[T]he most important book on government policy that I’ve read in a long time.

 David Leonhardt, The New York Times.


How to Tax Our Way Back to Justice
By Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman. The New York Times (Oct 11, 2019).

The Rich Really Do Pay Lower Taxes Than You
By David Leonhardt, The New York Times (Oct 6. 2019).

Combating Inequality conference 1

Combating Inequality: Rethinking Policies to Reduce Inequality in Advanced Economies

Conference organized by Olivier Blanchard (MIT) and Dani Rodrik (Harvard Kennedy School), Peterson Institute for International Economics (Oct 17-18, 2019).

Day 1
Session 1: The Landscape
Session 2: Ethical and Philosophical Dimensions
Session 3: Political Dimensions
Session 4: The Distribution of Human Capital
Session 5: Trade, Outsourcing, and Foreign Investment
Session 6: The (Re)distribution of Financial Capital

Day 2
Session 1: Rate and Direction of Technological Change
Session 2: Labor Market Policies, Institutions, and Norms
Session 3: Labor Market Tools
Session 4: Social Safety Nets
Session 5: Progessive Taxation
Concluding Remarks