America Now More Unequal Than During Colonial Era

A new study published in The National Bureau of Economic Research shows that the American colonies in 1774 “appear to have been more egalitarian than anywhere else in the measureable world” when it came to income inequality. As Jordan Weissmann at the Atlantic noted, on measures of equality the colonies “compare extremely well to the latter-day United States”; today, the U.S. is technically more unequal due to the richest collecting a much larger share of income. (Of course, legions of slaves would likely, and rightly, object to that characterization, even though the researchers controlled for the effects of slavery.) Another study recently found income inequality in the US may be worse than it was in ancient Rome.

Greg Noth