This article was originally published in Barron’s.

With the 2024 election cycle heating up and “Bidenomics” taking center stage, talk of income inequality—always a hot-button electoral issue—is back in the news.

Academics are caught in the fray. A debate has now emerged within academia about measurements of income inequality. A dire narrative popularized by Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman, who argue inequality has exploded, has been influential in recent years. Now a new paper by economists Gerald Auten and David Splinter highlights discrepancies between their outlook on inequality measurements, which show inequality to be less pervasive in the United States.

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